New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on Wednesday approved the RT-PCR test kit, OmiSure, which has been developed by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in association with Tata Medical and Diagnostic. The said test kit aims to reduce the delays in genome sequencing to detect the Omicron variant and will give test results in just 4 hours.

The approval by the DCGI came as India is seeing an exponential rise in the number of coronavirus cases, which is believed to be driven by its Omicron variant. Health officials said that the spike in the number of Covid cases is being witnessed in cities and "the Omicron variant is the predominant circulating strain".

"We are now facing an exponential rise in (the number of) COVID-19 cases and we believe that largely, it is being driven by Omicron, particularly so in the western parts of our country and even particularly so in larger cities from where we have more data," NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul said.

All you need to know about OmiSure Test Kit:

What is OmiSure Test Kit?

The OmiSure is an RT-PCR COVID testing kit that is believed to eliminate the need for genome sequencing to diagnose the newly found variant of COVID-19, Omicron. Like any other RT-PCR test kit, the OmiSure also relies on nasal and oral swab samples and is compatible with all standard Real-Time PCR Machines being used in India.

How OmiSure works?

This kit can detect the Omicron variant as well as other variants of SARS-CoV2 reported so far. Currently, Omicron patients are detected only after genome sequencing. But this test can help eliminate that step and detection can be done during the testing.

The first target is based on S-gene dropout or S-gene target failure (SGTF), and the second target is based on S-gene mutation amplification (SGMA), said Ravi Vasanthapuram, the head of the research and development of TATA MD. All tests across the globe employ either SGTF or SGMA, but this unique test design combines both. Therefore, it has two checks in place for Omicron detection without compromising the ability to detect other SARS-CoV-2 variants.

What will be the price of OmiSure?

TATA MD has fixed the cost of the Omisure test kit at Rs 250 per test, which is cheaper than current test kits available in the market. However, additional charges by labs for testing may be added as it is not a home-based test.

When it will be available?

As per reports, the Omisure test kit is likely to be available on the market for procurement by private or state labs in the next 7 to 10 days, most probably on January 12.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan