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Mumbai Omicron alert: BMC to buy RT-PCR kits that can detect S-gene

🔴 The absence of S-gene in the sample is an indicator that the variant could be Omicron. The BMC has already purchased around 850 kits for S-gene detection for emergency use at Kasturba Hospital and KEM Hospital.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: December 9, 2021 1:05:27 am
Nagpur, Omicron, Covid-19, Nagpur omicron, Nagpur news, Maharashtra news, Indian express, Indian express newsThe man's sample was sent for genome sequencing to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune. (Representational)

IN A bid to detect Covid-19 variant Omicron, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will procure RT-PCR kits that can find the presence or absence of S-gene.

Officials from public health department said tenders will soon be floated to procure such kits for all BMC-run Covid testing centres. Maharashtra has 10 confirm cases of Omicron. After the alert from World Health Organisation, the city is ramping up its facilities to any possible spread of new variant.

A BMC official said the genome sequencing results take at least four to five days to come and also the machine requires nearly 350 samples to start the test.

“As per the WHO guidelines, in case of Omicron variant, the S-gene remains absent in RT-PCR test. This can provide us quick information on suspect. For confirmation of the new variant, then samples are send for Genome Sequencing. The RT-PCR kits that can detect S-gene will help us immediately take precautionary measure in case of suspected Omicron patient,” said an official from BMC.

The BMC has already purchased nearly 850 kits for S-gene detection in Kasturba Hospital and KEM Hospital for emergency uses. “However, for largescale testing, more kits are required. So tender will be invited for procurement,” said another official from BMC.

The general RT-PCR kit used by BMC for Covid-19 tests cost nearly Rs 250 while for S-gene kits, it goes up to Rs 350.

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