Tata’s COVID-19 test kit to detect Omicron variant gets IMCR nod: All you need to know about ‘OmiSure’

The Indian Council of Medical Research on Wednesday announced that it has approved a kit designed to detect the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

Here’s all we know about the new kit developed by Tata Medical and Diagnostics and how it will help amidst this wave of infections the country is witnessing owing to the new variant.

Omicron detecting RT-PCR kit has been developed in partnership with Tata MD and ICMR and it has been approved by DCGI. This kit will test will give results in 4 hours: Dr Balram Bhargava, DG,ICMR pic.twitter.com/CMjZyI9Mpe

— ANI (@ANI) January 5, 2022

The Tata Medical and Diagnostics kit called ‘OmiSure’ can detect the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV2 in nasopharyngeal/oropharyngeal specimens during the RT-PCR tests. According to officials from the company, the test kit is compatible with all standard Real-Time PCR machines.

Dr V Ravi, head, Research & Development at Tata Medical & Diagnostic Centre, said that the kit uses the S Gene Target Failure (SGTF) strategy to detect the variant.

Explaining how the kit works, he was quoted as telling New Indian Express, “Globally, all other test kits for Omicron are either made for gene dropout or mutation specific detection. OmiSure is the first test kit combining both.”

“On evaluation by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), it picked up all sequence samples with 100 percent accuracy. We have now received the licence from Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) and will start production of OmiSure for commercial use within a week’s time,” he added in the same report.

This kit can detect the Omicron variant as well as other variants of SARS-CoV2 reported so far. It has been reported that Tata officials have decided to fix the retail price of a kit at Rs 250 for the laboratory.

Dr V Ravi in an interview to Economic Times said that the company was looking to push out the kits to the market by around 12 January.

He added that the time from sample collecting to result generation it would take around two-and-a-half hours and could be reduced to 2.15 hours.

This would be highly beneficial owing to the fact that 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.

A PTI report said that the kit will be manufactured by Tata MD at its Sriperumbudur facility in Tamil Nadu.

The news comes as India and the world is grappling with a huge increase in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant.

On Thursday, India saw the biggest single-day jump of 495 Omicron cases, taking the total number of infections of the new variant of coronavirus to 2,630, according to Union health ministry data. Of the total cases, Maharashtra has the maximum at 797, followed by Delhi at 465, Rajasthan 236, Kerala 234, Karnataka 226, Gujarat 204 and Tamil Nadu 121.

Inputs from agencies

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