IIT Delhi develops RT PCR based ass for identification of Omicron variant

IIT Delhi had earlier received ICMR approval (the first academic institution in India) for an RT-PCR kit for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis, which was successfully launched in the market.

Researchers at IIT Delhi’s Kusuma School of Biological Sciences have developed an RT-PCR-based ass for specific identification of the form Omicron (B.1.1.529.1) of SARS-CoV-2.

The test is based on specific mutation detection, which is present in the Omicron variant and is missing in other currently performed variants of SARS-CoV-2. Aiming at these unique mutations in the S gene, primer sets were designed to specifically modify the Omicron variant or other currently performed variants of SARS-CoV-2 and were tested using real-time PCR. Using synthetic DNA fragments, the assays were optimized to distinguish wild-type from omicron variant in a dynamic range from 107

Currently, Omicron detection or screening is performed worldwide using next-generation sequencing-based methods, which take more than 3 days. Using this RT-PCR based ass, it will be possible to test the presence of the Omicron variant within 90 minutes.

It can be used as a quick screening ass to identify and isolate individuals with the Omicron variant. IIT Delhi has filed an Indian patent application for the same and is in the process of initiating discussions with potential industry partners.

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