FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 8, 2021
For HealthTrackRx, Inc.
Denton, TX, December 8, 2021—HealthTrackRx, the leading polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing lab, today confirmed that its proprietary testing technology is able to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 even with the emerging B.1.1.529 or Omicron variant.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently designated the Omicron as a “variant of concern” based on evidence of several mutations that may impact how the virus behaves. How easily this variant spreads, or the severity of illness Omicron causes, remains unknown at this point.
“Scientists and researchers are just starting to investigate this emerging variant, so there’s a lot that remains unclear,” said Jay Reddy, PhD, Vice President of Laboratory Operations at HealthTrackRx. “What is known is HealthTrackRx PCR testing stands strong and we will continue to deliver the fast, accurate testing results our clients need to effectively diagnose COVID-19 and all its variants.”
HealthTrackRx’s COVID-19 assays detect SARS-CoV-2 by identifying three gene targets from the virus. The test can report accurate results even in the case where one of the targets is impacted by a mutation. While the Spike (S) gene target in the test is impacted in the presence of Omicron variant mutations, other gene targets are not.
“We’ve known that variants would likely be at play from the beginning,” continues Reddy. “This particular variant demonstrates many mutations in the S gene. Our assay is seeing the S gene dropout, which we have also seen in other variants. Even though Omicron has multiple mutations in the ORF1ab and N genes as well, which are the other targets of our assay, we can still effectively identify Omicron without issue.”
HealthTrackRx is the nation’s leading PCR-based infectious disease laboratory, delivering industry-leading testing turnaround times to clinicians nationwide. For more than 20 years, the company has mobilized accurate clinical decisions through advances in pathogen testing, antimicrobial stewardship, and value-based care programs. HealthTrackRx is among a limited number of labs in the U.S. granted FDA Emergency Use Authorization for Molecular Laboratory Developed (LDT) COVID-19 Authorized Test. For more information, visit HealthTrackRx at healthtrackrx.com and LinkedIn.