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UPDATE 1-Novacyt launches test to differentiate COVID-19 and flu

* Shares gain more ground

* Novacyt: new test product to drive major revenue growth (Adds detail and background)

PARIS, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Clinical diagnostics company Novacyt , one of many healthcare companies whose shares have surged during the pandemic, launched a test on Thursday to differentiate between COVID-19 and common winter diseases.

Novacyt said its “Winterplex” test panel included two gene targets specific to COVID-19, as well as gene targets for influenza A&B and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

“We believe Winterplex™ is one of the world’s first approved respiratory test panels that can differentiate between COVID-19 and other common respiratory diseases,” Novacyt CEO Graham Mullis said.

Novacyt said the new product was expected to drive major revenue growth, and Novacyt’s Paris-listed shares rose by around 6% in early trading, with the stock price having already surged by around 1,900% since the start of 2020.

Novacyt’s new polymerase chain reaction (PCR) respiratory test panel is one of many such ‘PCR’ type products already on the market, aimed at diagnosing the presence of COVID-19.

The PCR test is the preferred COVID-19 testing method in many countries. It detects the presence of the disease by amplifying its genetic material to a point where it can be spotted by scientists (tinyurl.com/y7rno7pf). (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter)

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