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Thermo Fisher says its COVID-19 tests accurately detects Omicron variant…

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc said on Monday its COVID-19 diagnostic tests can precisely detect the new coronavirus variant Omicron that has made several countries shut their borders.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) last week categorized the Omicron variant as a SARS-CoV-2 “variant of concern,” saying it may spread more quickly than other types.

Thermo Fisher’s TaqPath COVID-19 assays can report accurate results even in the case where one of the gene targets is effect by a mutation, the company said in a statement.

“This assay can be used not only to successfully detect COVID-19 but… it even is used as a proxy for the Omicron variant,” Mark Stevenson, chief operating officer at Thermo Fisher Scientific, said in an interview.

Stevenson said this is the only COVID-19 diagnostic test approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and currently in use by well-being techniques that can be used to indicate if a case is caused by the Omicron variant.

Test samples must still be sent to a lab for sequencing to confirm that the case was caused by Omicron and not another variant with similar options, such as the Alpha variant, he said.

Omicron, which was first detected in Southern Africa, has now been confirmed in Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Britain, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, France, South Africa, and America’s neighbor to the north, Canada.

The WHO said it was working with technical experts to know the potential impact of the variant on present countermeasures against COVID-19, together with vaccines.