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Method developed to detect Omicron variant within 8 hours; kit soon

Gujarat has till now detected four Covid-19 patients with the Omicron variant.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
December 15, 2021 1:31:26 am
According to experts, so far, there does not seem to be any community transmission. However, data is awaited of more than 400 samples that are presently being sequenced. (Express File Photo)

Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC) in Gandhinagar has developed a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based method to detect the Omicron variant of SARS-Cov-2 within eight hours. Whole genome sequencing can otherwise take up to 72 hours.

The GBRC, which is also part of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), utilised its genomic resource of SARS-Cov-2 data to develop the method. The institute now plans to translate this met-hod into a kit and send the same for validation to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for approval for commercial use.

Additional Chief Secretary of health Manoj Aggarwal on Tuesday made the announcement of the development by GBRC during a press conference at Gandhinagar.

Explaining the method developed, Professor Madhvi Joshi, joint director at GBRC, said, “We have designed a simple PCR-based method where if a sample is run, it will firstly tell whether it is Covid-19 positive and will also tell if it is the Omicron variant of the virus or not. There are a lot of mutations in the Omicron variant so we picked a region in the spike protein-specific mutation which will be amplified only GBRC develops method to detect Omicron variant within 8 hours

if the sample has the Omicron variant. With that PCR, Omicron can be detected within eight hours. Similar PCR can be developed or this technique can be used to detect other variants with peculiarly exclusive mutations — which is, say, not prevalent in any other lineage — such as Delta.”

Gujarat has till now detected four Covid-19 patients with the Omicron variant.

Joshi says the results for this method were optimised only this week, marking the completion of the method development phase.

“We will first communicate a scientific paper of the method developed by us so that it can be further validated elsewhere in their samples and after that we will validate the kit with ICMR so that it can be made available everywhere commercially,” said Joshi.

 

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