New Products

Rapid detection kit to detect onsite Norovirus in oysters

Onsite analysis helps ensure shellfish quality and safety across the production line.

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June 25, 2024

Primerdesign (part of the Novacyt Group), a company focusing on the design, manufacture, validation and supply of real-time PCR kits and reagents, launched the genesig® Easy_oys Detection Kit for Norovirus in oysters. The quantitative PCR (qPCR) assay enables rapid and reliable detection of genogroup (G)I and GII Norovirus pathogens in oyster tissue. The user-friendly workflow offers a cost-effective solution that can be used on-site to identify the contamination points across the production line, helping reduce public health risks and minimize shellfish farm closures.

There is a growing need for methods to detect and quantify viruses in bivalve shellfish to control and risk manage potential outbreaks and spread. The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) in England and the Marine Institute in the Republic of Ireland, the only ISO 15216-accredited laboratories for PCR quantification of Norovirus in oysters in the British Isles, currently perform a limited number of tests from each grower due to resource constraints. This places food safety in jeopardy and farms at risk of closure if a Norovirus outbreak is linked to their oysters.

Quantitative PCR methods offer a fast and accurate means of screening water and food. The genesig Easy_oys Norovirus kit is a qPCR assay optimized for the quantitative detection of Norovirus GI and GII genomes in the digestive tissue of oysters. The highly sensitive kit demonstrated detection of both GI and GII down to 500 copies/gram, making it a suitable risk management tool to ensure that oysters with high infection risk are detected. The kit includes all the reagents needed to conduct viral testing in line with the ISO 15216 guidelines, without any prior lab experience. The complete testing workflow, including the exisgMag extraction kit, genesig Easy_oys Norovirus kit, and the genesig q16 instrument, delivers results within four hours. It was developed in collaboration with oyster farmers and the Shellfish Association of Great Britain, providing them with an easy-to-use and accessible tool to rapidly assess the food safety risk and give them confidence in the quality of their oysters.

Stephanie Anderson, product manager, Primerdesign, said that “many farmers are under pressure to test for Norovirus in order to prevent an outbreak and risk consequent closure. However, the lack of approved commercially available tests currently available in the UK and limited accredited testing facilities often results in delays, presenting a significant challenge to the industry. Working together with farmers and the trade association for the UK shellfish industry to optimize our testing solution, we are proud to offer our new genesig Easy_oys Norovirus kit. The workflow offers a rapid, specific and user-friendly virus monitoring system that delivers results in just a matter of hours on-site, providing the industry a vital tool to safeguard oyster quality from farm to plate.”