South Korea develops PCR test that detects five variants, including omicron

Seoul, Dec 24 (EFE).- South Korea announced Friday the development of a PCR test to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus capable of identifying the five major known variants of the pathogen, including the newly discovered omicron.

The announcement by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) made the Asian country the first in the world to be able to detect the five most common variants (alpha, beta, gamma, delta and omicron) with a single test.

This kit, which was developed through a public-private partnership, will start being used in South Korea from Dec.30 amid a spike in omicron cases, more contagious than the other variants.

KDCA head Jeung Eun-kyeong said in a statement that until now, with current genome sequencing, when a Covid-19 infection was confirmed, it took 3 to 5 days to determine whether the confirmed case had been infected with the omicron variant.

The new PCR test can quickly detect the omicron variant, and the results of the analysis can be obtained between 3 and 4 hours after the person has been tested, Jeung added. EFE


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