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ICMR approves indigenous kit to detect Omicron

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    Science & Technology
  • Published
    6th Jan, 2022


Recently, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved a kit named OmiSure. It will be used to detect Omicron.

What is OmiSure?

  • The kit was designed and developed by a US – based company Thermo Fisher. It was manufactured by Tata.
  • It is currently the only kit in India to use this method to detect Omicron.
  • The kit will be used to confirm Omicron in patients with its S-Gene Target Failure (SGTF) strategy.
  • The price of the kit is Rs 240. The cost of RT – PCR kits sold by government agencies is Rs 20 to Rs 30.

What are S-Gene Target Failure (SGTF) cases?

  • The Covid-19 tests such as RT-PCR target “multiple genes” of the virus so that a broad range of variants are covered.
    • For example, ‘S’ Gene, ORF, ‘N’ gene, ‘E’ gene etc are viral genes that are targeted to detect COVID-19 virus.
  • In the case of the Omicron variant, the ‘S’ gene is not getting detected in the RT-PCR test due to mutation in the gene while other gene targets are getting detected. This occurrence is called ‘S’ Gene Target Failure (SGTF) positive cases. 
    • Such samples can be presumptively reported as Omicron positive.

Verifying, please be patient.