CSIR-CDRI in Lucknow makes first 'Made in India' RT-PCR kit to detect Omicron variant of COVID

CSIR-CDRI in Lucknow makes first 'Made in India' RT-PCR kit to detect Omicron variant of COVID

Said to cost around ₹150, this kit named 'Om' will provide test results in about two-hours time only

For the first time ever, a government institute in India has designed and manufactured a unique diagnostic kit to detect the presence of the Variant of Concern of COVID. The CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) in Lucknow, has developed 'Om'- an indigenous RT-PCR diagnostic kit for testing the new Omicron strain of the novel coronavirus. Read on to know more about this new development in the testing of this deadly virus in India.

Kit to cost around ₹150

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Developed by a team of three scientists, who were mentored by senior principal scientist Atul Goel along with four research scholars, the kit was made in two months' time. Notably, the indigenous testing kit has been tested and validated by Prof Amita Jain- the head of the microbiology department at King George's Medical University. Said to cost around ₹150, this kit will provide test results in about two-hours time only.

According to reports, this is the third kit to have been made entirely in India for the dedicated detection of the B.1.1.529 variant of COVID in the country. Apart from this, two other kits similar to this one were earlier developed by private entities. While both these kits are currently available in the market, Om is expected to be launched in the second week of February post the approval from the Indian Council of Medical Research.

Benefits of 'Om'

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While talking about this development, Prof Tapas Kundu, the director of CDRI said, "Our scientists have successfully developed INDICoV-Om for specific detection of Omicron. Ours is one of the few specific kits across the world for Omicron detection. Most of the kits do not confirm Omicron, therefore, this kit will be of great help."

Talking about the benefits of this device, the senior principal scientist, Atul Goel said, "The biggest benefit of the kit would be that the patient will be aware if he or she is infected with Omicron or Delta. If one is infected by Omicron, he or she will not panic as this variant is milder than Delta."

As per the scientist, the diagnosis and treatment of different strains of COVID become difficult with every mutation. Even though Omicron is said to be milder in symptoms, it is a super-spreader. The spread of this highly transmissible variant can be controlled if identified in time with the help of this newly developed kit, added the senior principal scientist.

Emphasising the economic aspect, Niti Kumar- principal scientist, said, "Om will help in quick and cost-effective detection of Omicron as compared to genome sequencing." "This technology can be aligned for detection of other emerging variants of Covid and other respiratory infections", added Kumar.

-with inputs from IANS

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