The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) centre at Lahowal in Assam’s Dibrugarh district has developed a kit that can detect the latest Omicron variant of Covid-19 virus that has emerged as most infectious so far.
The newly developed kit can detect the new variant within just two hours. A team of ICMR scientists led by Senior Scientist Dr Biswajit Borkakoty developed the kit after the genomic sequence of the omicron variant was released on 25th November. The team developed the kit in just 10 days.
The development is significant because at present it takes a minimum of 36 hours to detect the variant using the targeted sequencing and 4-5 days are needed for the whole genome sequencing to detect the variant.
Notably, the kit can differentiate between Omicron and other variants of Covid-19, and it has been sent to NIV Pune for external validation.
The World Health Organisation has classified the Omicron variant as a ‘variant of concern’ after it was first detected in South Africa last month.