New England Biolabs Expands its Luna® Portfolio with the SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR Multiplex Assay Kit

This new research use only kit enables high throughput multiplex detection of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid, supports increased sample input and reduces background amplification from possible contaminating genomic DNA.

IPSWICH, MA (January 12, 2021) — New England Biolabs® (NEB®) today announced the launch of its Luna® SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR Multiplex Assay Kit for real-time detection of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid. This research use only (RUO) kit offers multiplex testing of up to 94 samples in a single 96-well plate, with the additional capacity for supporting sample pooling and high throughput applications using 384-well plate test formats.

“With the increased demand for high throughput detection of SARS-CoV-2 to advance critical COVID-19 research, there still remains gaps with existing solutions, including the need for updated internal controls and an ability to increase overall assay throughput,” said Steven Chiu, Product Marketing Manager, DNA Amplification, at NEB.

“To address this, we specifically developed the Luna SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR Multiplex Assay Kit by modifying the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-designed RNase P control reverse primer to avoid spurious amplification of human genomic DNA. We also provide an optimized 4X master mix, which allows for increased sample input and pooling,” said Chiu. “With these enhancements, the kit achieves strong multiplex detection with 24 hours of room temperature stability.

The Luna SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR Multiplex Assay Kit offers multiplex detection of two separate regions of the SARS-CoV-2 virus N gene (N1 and N2), in addition to the human RNase P gene internal control, based on sequences provided by the CDC. The probes have been modified to detect N1 and N2 via two different fluorophores — HEX and FAM respectively — for simultaneous fluorescence detection on two different channels of a real-time instrument. Amplification of the internal control is observed in the Cy5 channel. N-gene targets present in this kit do not overlap with the variants present in the B.1.1.7 strain that was first detected in the United Kingdom, enabling detection of this strain. NEB continues to monitor variants that are detected around the world to ensure ongoing compatibility with primer/probe sets.

To reduce the risk of carryover contamination between reactions, the master mix includes  dUTP and a unique, thermolabile UDG that offers significant benefits over the standard E. coli UDG. A universal passive reference dye is utilized, which is compatible across a variety of instrument platforms including those that operate in No ROX, Low, or High ROX reference signal conditions. An inert, blue tracking dye is also included for monitoring reaction setup. This visible dye does not overlap spectrally with fluorophores commonly used in qPCR and does not interfere with real-time detection.

For more details on the Luna SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR Multiplex Assay Kit please visit

This RUO product is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or any foreign equivalent, for diagnostic use.

About New England Biolabs
Established in the mid 1970's, New England Biolabs, Inc. (NEB) is the industry leader in the discovery and production of enzymes for molecular biology applications and now offers the largest selection of recombinant and native enzymes for genomic research. NEB continues to expand its product offerings into areas related to PCR, gene expression, sample preparation for next generation sequencing, synthetic biology, glycobiology, epigenetics and RNA analysis. Additionally, NEB is focused on strengthening alliances that enable new technologies to reach key market sectors, including molecular diagnostics development. New England Biolabs is a privately held company, headquartered in Ipswich, MA, and has extensive worldwide distribution through a network of exclusive distributors, agents and eight subsidiaries located in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore and the UK. For more information about New England Biolabs, visit

Luna®, NEB®, and NEW ENGLAND BIOLABS® are registered trademarks of New England Biolabs, Inc.

Contact Information:

Deana D. Martin, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Marketing Communications
New England Biolabs
240 County Road Ipswich, MA 01938
Tel: 978-380-7464



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