Guwahati: 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- Omicron in just two hours.
The Omicron testing kit once available at the market will come as a big relief for international travellers 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 ICMR Dibrugarh team, Senior Scientist Dr Biswajyoti Borkakoty, tested and scanned this kit with over 1,000 samples of Covid patients, including some from other states who have been detected for Omicron.
“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 a hydrolysis probe-based real-time RT-PCR assay and has been tested against specific synthetic gene fragments of the 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,” said Dr Biswajit Borkakoty.
On a public-private partnership (PPP) model, GCC biotech a Kolkata-based company is producing the kit on a bulk basis. Several states including Delhi, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Gujarat and 60 countries have reported cases of the new COVID-19 variant.