New Delhi: As the Coronavirus continues to mutate, it has become challenging to diagnose and treat different variants of concern. Some like the Omicron, though milder in symptoms and fatality, are a super spreader and are propagating like wildfire across the world.
Currently, detection of this variant depends upon tests like the S-gene dropout or by NGS (nextgen sequencing) of the whole viral genome. While the S-gene dropout method is not specific to pinpoint the type of variant, the NGS method has its limitations in terms of expense, turnaround, and the number of centres that can provide such service.
A team of scientists at CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Lucknow, have developed an indigenous RT PCR Kit for the specific detection of the Omicron variant in collaboration with their industrial partner, Biotech Desk Pvt. Ltd., Hyderabad. The kit has been named INDICoV-OmTM.
Dr. Atul Goel, the team leader said that the kit provides forquick and cost-effective detection of the Omicron variant. It can also be aligned for the detection of other emerging variants of COVID infection and other respiratory infections in the future. The kit has been tested and validated by Prof. Amita Jain in several Covid positive patient samples at King George Medical University, Lucknow.
Dr. Shradha Goenka, Managing Director, Biotech Desk Pvt. Ltd., said the kit was likely to be rolled out by mid-February. “We are working on regulatory approvals and the assembly of the kit. We are keeping our fingers crossed for an early release”, said Dr Goenka.
Prof. Tapas K. Kundu, Director CSIR-CDRI, said the Institute is rapidly gaining expertise in antiviral research for therapeutics and diagnostics to combat any kind of viral infections. The team led by Dr Atul Goel is fully prepared for the detection of broad spectrum and specific pathogenic viral infection. This kit for SARS-Cov-2 omicron diagnosis has been submitted to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for validation and should be available for the people of the country soon.
The research team consisted of Dr. Niti Kumar, Dr. Ashish Arora, Ms. Surbhi Mundra, Ms. Varsha Kumari, Mr. Kundan Singh Rawat, and Ms. Priyanka Pandey, besides Dr. Goel.
(India Science Wire)