Photo provided by AMSBIO
South Korea’s molecular diagnostics companies Seegene and AMSBIO have grabbed attention of stock investors for their newly launched test kits capable of identifying the Omicron’s unique pattern of mutations.
Seegene’s latest kit Allplex SARS-CoV-2 Master Assay is a well-established PCR-based test targeting four SARS-CoV-2 genes (E gene, RdRP gene, N gene, and S gene) and five notable mutations on the spike protein. This provides accurate results on whether a person is positive for Covid-19 and/or the Omicron variant within 4 hours all in a single test tube, according to the company on Wednesday.
The product is ready to be shipped to overseas markets as it was already approved for export in April. Although Seegene shares were off 4.6 percent to close at 66,300 won on Thursday after 8.2 percent loss on the previous day, the stock has gained more than 26 percent over the month in line with the widening impact of the Omicron.
It is critical to detect the Omicron variant in the early stage of spreading given its speed and potential risk of transmission, said Dr. Jong-Yoon Chun, Founder & CEO of Seegene, adding that the product will contribute to stopping the world from sinking into another crisis.
AMSBIO on Wednesday said its PCR test kit can detect all coronavirus variants including the Omicron. The company is awaiting approval for domestic marketing and export. The company said its detection kit was confirmed capable of detecting the Omicron based on the sequencing data provided by World Health Organization (WHO), and it already shared technical documents with potential customers in Korea and globally.
AMSBIO said it will continue genome sequencing research with rigor and urgency to respond to future potential variants.
Kosdaq-trading shares of Biosmart, the parent of unlisted AMSBIO, finished 12.82 percent higher at 5,720 won on Thursday after 5.6 percent gain in the previous day.
Omicron designated by WHO as a variant of concern has more mutations on its spike protein than the delta variant does, which means it will also be very transmissible. It has already been found in more than 20 countries, including South Africa, the UK, Italy, Hong Kong and South Korea.
By Kim Si-gyun and Minu Kim
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