In November 2021, the World Health Organisation (WHO) named Omicron, also called B.1.1.529, a variant of concern.
Research has suggested that the Omicron variant is more easily transmissible than previous variants, including Delta. Nevertheless, generally, the infection causes less severe disease than previous variants.
There was understandable concern that some tests and vaccines may not be effective with the new variant. However, in December 2021, the news broke that current COVID-19 vaccines work against the variant, and most tests still work.
We are pleased to announce that both versions of SureScreen’s SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen lateral flow test achieved the maximum possible clinical sensitivity for the Omicron variant compared to RT-PCR from an anterior nasal swab. However, every positive specimen detected by RT-PCR also gave a positive result on the lateral flow assay for the three identified Omicron lineages. Hence, the lateral flow test does not discriminate between these lineages, nor can it distinguish between them. Furthermore, the maximum sensitivity was achieved for PCR Ct values up to 26 (the highest Ct value from the 30 specimens).
At SureScreen, we will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and any possible variants of concern.