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Novacyt has developed a new polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for a new strain of COVID-19 known as Y453F. The PCR test for the new strain will be research-use-only (RUO).

The Y453F mutation, which was originally identified among mink in Denmark and the Netherlands, has spread to humans and cases have been identified outside of Europe.

It has caused concern among medical professionals as it produces an amino acid change which can impact antibody binding. According to Novacyt, this could affect vaccine strategies and the company's new test is designed to help scientists and clinicians identify cases of Y453F among COVID-19 patients.

The company has also launched two RUO PCR tests for avian flu, following recent outbreaks across Europe, including the UK and France. Three different highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus subtypes have been identified among wild birds and poultry, with fears that movements of birds during the winter pose a high risk of this spreading.

While no human infection has as yet been detected, measures have already been taken to combat the viruses, including the culling of thousands of turkeys in the UK. The Novacyt tests have been developed to assist in fighting outbreaks and can both be used on the company’s q16 and q32 mobile PCR testing instruments.

Novacyt CEO Graham Mullis said: “Novacyt has long been at the forefront of rapidly developing tests to assist with the diagnosis and monitoring of emerging infectious disease threats. We continue to demonstrate this market intelligence and expertise with the development of these new RUO products to support scientists and clinicians around the world, as well as expanding our portfolio.”

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