The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern (VOCs), with mutations linked to increased transmissibility, vaccine escape and virulence, has necessitated the widespread genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2. This has placed a strain on global sequencing capacity, especially in areas lacking the resources for large scale sequencing activities. Here we have developed three separate multiplex high-resolution melting assays to enable the identification of Alpha, Beta, Delta and Omicron VOCs. The assays were evaluated against whole genome sequencing on upper-respiratory swab samples collected during the Alpha, Delta and Omicron [BA.1] waves of the UK pandemic. The sensitivities of the eight individual primer sets were all 100%, and specificity ranged from 94.6 to 100%. The multiplex HRM assays have potential as a tool for high throughput surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 VOCs, particularly in areas with limited genomics facilities.
- Biological Assay