While Scientists worldwide are trying to come with breakthrough about omicron and its severity, treatment and easy identification, amid dominant Delta and other existing variants, the Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) at Assam’s Dibrugarh has come up with a testing kit that can detect the new Covid variant in just two hours.
The kit once available at market will come as a big relief for travelers who have to wait for hours to get tested and the samples need not be sent to labs for genome sequencing which is a mammoth process.
The kit was in the making since November 24. The ICMR Dibrugarh team tested and scanned this kit with over 1,000 samples of Covid patients, including some from other states who have been detected for Omicron. The team is led by Dr Biswajyoti Borkakoty, Senior Scientist, Regional Medical Research Centre, Indian Council of Medical Research (RMRC- ICMR), Dibrugarh
Once the licensing process is through, the kit will be made available at testing labs, new week onwards for speedy detection of Omicron variant in swab samples. The kit is hydrolysis probe-based real-time RT-PCR assay and has been tested against specific synthetic gene fragments of Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 within two different highly specific unique regions of the spike protein and also reference wild type control synthetic gene fragments, aid Dr Biswajit Borkakoty.
The kit is now being produced on a bulk basis by a Kolkata-based company, GCC biotech on a public-private partnership (PPP) model and will be used in labs that have RT-PCR facility and it is not an on-site test kit like anti-gen test kits.
States including Delhi, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Gujarat and 60 countries have reported cases of the new COVID-19 variant.