IIT-D develops test to detect Omicron in 90 min

Researchers from IIT Delhi’s Kusuma School of Biological Sciences have developed an RT-PCR based test, that can detect Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 in 90 minutes.

Key Points

  • The test is based on detecting specific mutations, which are present in Omicron variant while absent in other circulating variants of SARS-CoV-2.
  • Primer sets that targeted these unique mutations in S gene were designed for specific amplification of either Omicron variant or other variants of SARS-CoV-2 and tested through real time PCR.
  • Newly developed test was optimised by using synthetic DNA fragments. Optimised test distinguishes the wild-type from Omicron variant in a dynamic range of 107 to less than 100 copies per reaction.

How omicron screening is being done?

Presently, Omicron is being identified or screened using next-generation sequencing based methods across the world. This test requires over 3 days.

Significance of the new development

The RT-PCR based test developed by IIT-Delhi, it will be possible to screen the Omicron variant within 90 minutes. This can be used as a rapid screening assay to identify and isolate individuals with the Omicron variant.

Patent of the test

IIT Delhi has filed an Indian patent application for the test. It is in the process of initiating talks with the potential industry partners.

RT-PCR kit by IIT Delhi

IIT Delhi had earlier obtained ICMR approval for RT-PCR test kit to diagnose the SARS-CoV-2. IIT Delhi became the first academic Institute in India to do so. This test kit was successfully launched in the market.

The Omicron variant

Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus was first detected to the World Health Organization (WHO) on November 24, 2021 from South Africa. WHO designated it as a variant of concern on November 26, 2021 and named it after omicron.

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