Assam researchers develop Omicron test kit, to give results in 2 hours

The RMRC Dibrugarh team has been working on this kit since November 24, this year.



The Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) of the Indian Council of Medical Research's (ICMR), Dibrugarh, has created a hydrolysis probe real-time RT-PCR assay that detects the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus in two hours.

A doctor from the state and his team have designed and developed the hydrolysis probe-based on real-time RT-PCR assay for detection of the new variant.

“This kit is made in India and is specific to Omicron. We have done the internal test on synthetic gene sequencing, and it is 100% accurate. We have done over 200 tests. This is important because, as of now, a minimum of 36 hours is required for targeted sequencing and four to five days for whole-genome sequencing to detect the variant,” project head and scientist-E Dr Biswa Borkotoky said.

“The kit is tested against specific synthetic gene fragments of Omicron variant 2 within two different highly specific unique regions of the spike protein," Borkotoky said,

Dr Borkotoky took 10 days to come up with the kit that will now be manufactured on RMRC Dibrugarh’s design by a 100 per cent ‘make in India’, Kolkata-based biotech company GCC Biotech via PPP mode within three to four days.

The RMRC Dibrugarh team has been working on this kit since November 24, this year.

The team tested and scanned over 1,000 samples of Covid patients, including some from other states that have been detected with Omicron.

The licensing process of this test kit is underway and is expected to be available for the lab from the next week.

It was informed that internal validation has shown that the tests are 100% accurate.

The kit is being synthesized in bulk based on RMRC’s design by a 100 per cent Make in India, Kolkata based biotech company GCC biotech as PPP mode.

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