Labs are starting to do tests for amicron
The Labquest network of laboratories is starting to test a new strain of coronavirus – amicron: it is launching such research in 54 cities in Russia. Its general director Darya Pikalyuk told Vedomosti about it. A similar service will appear in more than 130 cities and in the “Helix” in two weeks, said Deputy Director General of the Laboratory Service of the network Daria Garakina. The leader of the 2020 market in terms of turnover (25 billion rubles) – the group “Invitro” – is also considering launching a study on omicron, a company spokesman said. Exact dates, he said, she will announce within a week, but it is clear that the test will be available throughout the network. A representative of the Hemotest laboratories (the second largest company in this segment in terms of turnover, its revenue in 2020 – 176 billion rubles) and a representative of the KDL group did not respond to requests from Vedomosti.
In “Labquest” research on amicron will be conducted free of charge in addition to the coronavirus test for all positive or questionable results, said Pikalyuk. The cost of such a PCR test in the capital in the network is 2895 rubles. taking into account the smear, the results arrive in 22 hours, according to the company’s website.
At Helix, the cost of the amicron test will be slightly different from the cost of a regular PCR test, Garakina said. Its website says that now it is 1740 rubles. taking into account the smear, the deadline – two days. Both networks will perform PCR research using the Amplittest SARS-CoV-2 VOC v.3 reagent kit developed by the Russian Federal Medical Biology Agency (FMBA). He, according to a representative of “Labquest”, is able to identify two strains – amicron and delta.
Both companies expect high demand for the new service. A representative of Labquest is sure that due to the new wave of coronavirus the number of tests will increase, but did not make accurate predictions. Sales of PCR tests for coronavirus in 2021 in this network amounted to more than 1.2 billion rubles. or 800,000 pieces. Helix did not disclose sales data. However, Garakina also expects a high demand for a new test for amicron from both individuals and doctors.
But experts interviewed by “Vedomosti” do not see much point in conducting such studies for ordinary citizens. Alexei Paramonov, director general of the Svitanok clinic, is convinced that it is of no practical value to people. According to him, the definition of specific variants of the virus is important and necessary primarily for the state and epidemiological services. However, he admits that the tests will still be in demand among the population, and laboratories will be able to make money on it. Sergei Shulyak, CEO of DSM Group, disagrees with him. He believes that amicron tests will not be popular. “If a person is ill, by and large, he does not care which strain, because there is no specific treatment for the infection. That is, this knowledge will not lead to a change in treatment and a speedy recovery, ”he explained.
Amicron was discovered in southern Africa in early November last year. According to the World Health Organization, the new variant of the virus has 32 mutations – more than all previously known strains. These changes increase its infectivity, potentially increase the level of penetration into human cells and increase the infectivity, but it is less likely to cause severe disease. Anna Safonova, a doctor at the Labquest Clinical Diagnostic Center, believes that the benefit of the new test is that patients with microns will be able to isolate themselves from others in a timely manner. In Russia, as of January 11, the number of infected with the amicron strain exceeded 300 people.
According to the staff, the daily increase in coronavirus infections in Russia has been increasing since January 7, while previously declining. Over the past 24 hours, 21,155 cases of coronavirus infection have been registered in Russia. The day before, 17,946 cases of the disease were detected. This figure became the highest since December 28. In Moscow, 5,490 patients were diagnosed during the day: the figure for the third day in a row exceeds 4,000 cases of infection. Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said that a new increase in coronavirus disease due to the amicron strain is inevitable. She also said that the level of collective immunity to coronavirus in Russia is 63.2%. The effectiveness of domestic coronavirus vaccines against microns is being tested.