Press Trust of India|Oct 5, 2022
Coronavirus Omicron India: IIT Delhi develops RT-PCR test for omicron variant
IIT Delhi has filed for patent rights for the RT-PCR based assay for detecting Omicron variant of coronavirus
NEW DELHI: Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi researchers have developed an RT-PCR test for detecting the corona variant Omicron (B.1.1.529.1). The researchers belong to the Kusuma School of Biological Sciences, (KSBS) IIT Delhi. This enables the identification of mutations present in the omicron variant, which are not found in other variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. IIT Delhi has filed for patent rights for the method.
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Presently, the Omicron variant of the coronavirus is identified by using sequencing-based methods. It is a time-consuming process taking up to three days. The IIT Delhi RT-PCR based assay will be able to provide results within 90 minutes, said a statement issued by the institute.
Synthetic DNA fragments were used in the assays. It was further optimised to distinguish the wild-type from the omicron variant.
This will enable a rapid screening assay for identifying individuals infected with the omicron variants. IIT Delhi had previously received approval from the Indian Council of Medical Research for an RT-PCR kit developed for the diagnosis of coronavirus. It was later launched in the market.
The RT-PCR kit developed with a probe-free assay for the diagnosis of coronavirus by IIT Delhi was approved by ICMR. The detection assay produced by researchers at the KSBS was validated with a sensitivity and specificity of 100 per cent. With this, IITD became the first academic institute to get ICMR approval for a real-time PCR-based diagnostic assay. It proved useful for specific and affordable high throughput testing. As the assay does not require fluorescent probes, it could be easily scaled up.
The IIT Delhi has also signed an agreement with the Indian Air Force (IAF) for supporting the IAF’s indigenisation efforts in achieving self-reliance.
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