Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi's Kusuma School of Biological Sciences have developed an RT-PCR-based assay for the specific detection of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 within 90 minutes.
Currently, the identification or screening for the new COVID variant is done worldwide using next-generation sequencing-based methods, which require over three days. Using this RT-PCR-based assay, it will be possible to test for the presence of the Omicron variant within 90 minutes.
The assay is based on detecting specific mutations, which are present in the Omicron variant and absent in other currently circulating variants of COVID-19, India Today reported.
Primer sets targeting these unique mutations in the S gene were designed to amplify either the Omicron variant or other circulating variants of COVID-19 and tested using real-time PCR.
Rapid Screening Assay
This can be used as a rapid screening assay to identify and isolate individuals with Omicron variants. IIT Delhi has filed an Indian patent application for the same and is in the process of initiating talks with potential industry partners.
IIT-Delhi had earlier obtained ICMR approval (the first academic institution in India to do so) for an RT-PCR kit to diagnose SARS-CoV-2, which was successfully launched in the market.
Currently, the identification or screening for Omicron is made globally using next-generation sequencing-based methods.According to Mint, India has so far reported 40 cases of infectious Omicron. Today, Maharashtra reported two more cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. With these two cases — one from Latur and the other from Pune — the tally of patients testing positive for the newly discovered variant of the coronavirus rose to 20 in the state.
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