It’s been one year since Seegene produced a complete respiratory diagnostic test that has taken the uncertainty out of differentiating COVID-19 infection from other respiratory illnesses
In January 2020, before a single patient with SARS-CoV-2 virus had been identiﬁed in South Korea, molecular diagnostic company Seegene leveraged its proven automated assay development platform and proprietary, high-multiplex RT-PCR technology to produce one of the ﬁrst tests kits for COVID-19 infection in just two weeks. The Allplex™ 2019-nCoV Assay and Seegene’s subsequent family of Allplex™ SARS-CoV-2 tests have become the most widely used in South Korea. Seegene’s tests have been credited with enabling effective population screening and limiting the spread of COVID-19 to 1 percent of the population, thus avoiding massive outbreak and loss of life seen in other countries.
Delivering Clarity and Accuracy
When a patient presents with respiratory symptoms, many pathogens could be at fault. Therefore, a positive or negative indication for COVID-19 is not always enough; it is also valuable to know if the patient has any other respiratory infections. Importantly, doctors need accurate and fast results to enable treatment/quarantine when it can be most effective. Seegene developed three highly accurate and sensitive tests (limit of detection: 50 copies per reaction) that can return results, not only about whether or not an individual has COVID-19, but also whether the individual is infected with another respiratory illness in about 24 hours.
Testing a Nation
One week after submitting its COVID-19 test to the Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, it received emergency approval. Seegene’s Allplex™ 2019-nCoV Assay was rapidly manufactured, and millions of kits were quickly deployed. Seegene has exported more than 102.5 million test kits and has at least 70 percent of the Korean COVID testing market. In May, Seegene developed a second test to differentiate between two strains of SARS-CoV-2 and eliminated the RNA extraction step to address the global shortage of reagents and speed up the testing process. Most recently, Seegene’s newest Allplex™ SARS-Cov-2/FluA/FluB/RSV Assay can determine simultaneously if a patient’s respiratory symptoms are due to Flu A, Flu B, RSV A/B, or COVID-19. Seegene’s US subsidiary, Seegene Technologies, is well equipped with product inventory for shorter delivery times. This also allows Seegene Technologies to better serve the US market by providing a stable supply and protecting labs against supply chain disruption. With the ﬂu season predicted to be in full swing and ﬂu symptoms highly similar to those of COVID-19, Seegene’s high multiplex assays position South Korea and other countries that have adopted this technology to navigate the “Twindemic” using proactive testing and quarantining methods which have helped them well so far.
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