TOKYO – Precision instrument maker Shimadzu Corp. has begun marketing a reagent PCR test kit that can identify the L452R mutation of the delta variant of the novel coronavirus in about one hour.

The firm announced Thursday that the kit is being sold to companies and public health centers engaged in testing for the novel coronavirus.

This reagent kit significantly shortens the time required to detect the mutation, which previously took more than two hours.

With cases of infection with the delta variant continuing to occur in many parts of the country, Shimadzu hopes to stop the spread of infections by detecting the variant quickly.

The delta variant was first identified in India.

In addition to the kit for the delta variant, Shimadzu has also started selling a kit that can detect the E484K mutation of the beta, gamma and theta variants.

The beta variant was first found in South Africa, while the gamma variant was first observed in Brazil, and the theta variant in the Philippines.