The new Vitassay Real Time PCR allows the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2 and the HV 69/70 deletion of the S gene for SARS-CoV-2 in respiratory samples.

Several SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC) have emerged in the past months and monitoring them in all countries is key. The United Kingdom (UK) has detected a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 from samples initially taken in Kent on September 20th and London on September 21st, 2020, which was found associated with increased transmissibility. This variant, called VOC202012/01 (B.1.1.7) is defined by multiple spike protein changes (deletion 69-70, deletion 144, amino acid change N501Y, A570D, D614G, P681H, T716I, S982A, D1118H) as well as by mutations in other genomic regions. The deletion at positions 69 and 70 (del69–70) evolved spontaneously in other SARS-CoV-2 variants and is hypothesized to increase transmissibility.

The deletion at positions 69 and 70 causes S-gene target failure (SGTF) in at least one RT-PCR–based diagnostic assay. The spike deletion 69-70 has been also described in the context of evasion to the human immune response but has also occurred a number of times in association with other RBD (receptor-binding domain) changes. From a diagnostic perspective, the presence of the 69/70 deletion allows a rapid screening of the B.1.1.7 variant.

Vitassay qPCR SARS-CoV-2 + UK Variant is based on the real-time amplification of a conserved region of the S gene for SARS-CoV-2 HV 69/70 deletion and a conserved region of the ORF1ab and N genes for SARS-CoV-2.

More information about the qPCR test for SARS-CoV-2 UK Variant, clicking here.