Tuesday, May 24, 2022

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CSIR-CDRI scientists develop OM, the RT-PCR kit for Omicron

The CSIR – Central Drug Research Institute’s scientists have developed an indigenous RT-PCR kit called ‘Om’ for testing the omicron variant. The kit, a first by any government institution for the omicron variant, will also make India self-reliant in RT-PCR diagnostics.

The team comprises Dr. Atul Goel, Dr. Ashish Arora, and Dr. Niti Kumar at CSIR-CDRI. The indigenous RT-PCR kit ‘INDICoV-OmTM’ is one of the very few specific kits for detecting Omicron in the entire world.

About “Om”

Om enables quick and cost-effective detection of omicron variant over genome sequencing for a large population. It was made within two months and will cost around Rs 150. Further, it will give the test results in around two hours. According to the scientists, it can also be aligned for the detection of other emerging variants of Covid infection and other respiratory infections.

Once the kit gets approval from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), it will be launched by mid-February. The kit has been referred to the ICMR-National Institute of Virology (NIV) and is yet to be validated.

Current scenario

The diagnostic kit will specifically detect the omicron variant which will help in the proper diagnosis and treatment of the patient. Most RT-PCR-based diagnostic kits do not confirm by which covid variant the infection is caused. Currently, the detection of omicron variant depends on tests like the S-gene dropout or by NGS (Nextgen sequencing) of the whole viral genome.

The S-gene drop-out method is not specific and does not pinpoint the type of variant while the NGS (Nextgen sequencing) method too, has certain limitations such as expense, turnaround, and the number of centers that can provide such service.

Other Covid news: Schools reopen

Offline classes have resumed for students from standard 1 to 12 in Maharashtra on Monday following appropriate covid protocols. The decision was taken after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) assessment.

Meanwhile, the Haryana government was planning to open schools at 33% capacity on different days, however, no decision has been taken yet. Schools are to remain closed for physical classes till January 26 in the State.

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