Latvian scientists develop Covid-19 mutation tests

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Latvian blood test lab experts are working on a solution to determine the exact strain of Covid-19 a person has while conducting the general test, Latvian Television reported January 30.

The Biomedical Research and Study Center are carrying out a study of the virus genome and it takes an average of a week to determine whether a given sample Covid-19 has any of the most contagious virus mutations. However, E. Gulbja laboratory experts are developing a test which would contain this information upon taking the sample. If everything succeeds, this could become an important assistant to the work of epidemiologists.

“We have a plan to supplement existing tests with reactants that could at least provide [information] that the sample is suspicious. That is, let's say, the ancestor of the British or South African strain. They all have a couple of common mutations and then we'll be able to send the more suspicious ones to the Biomedical Research and Studies Center.  It would be a more targeted screening,“ explained laboratory specialist Dmitrijs Perminovs.

However, it will not be possible to test completely all positive test samples in this way.

The Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre, Jānis Kloviņš, said: “The aim is to select the right samples – those that represent all regions, so that we do not examine all the samples from one home.”

This information is important in epidemiological studies – understanding how widely and rapidly the most contagious mutations of the virus are spreading in Latvia.

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