The new kit has a higher accuracy of detecting Covid-19 across the various mutant strains of the virus.
This kit has been validated by ICMR.
The Centre has come up with a new RT-PCR kit that can detect SARS-Cov-2 mutations easily. It is being hoped that this new kit will give a boost to India’s fight against covid-19.
The new multiplex RT-PCR kit has been developed by Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), an Institute of National Importance (INI) under the Department of Science and Technology (Government of India).
Secretary Ashutosh Sharma said that this kit will be a significant weapon in detecting SARS-Cov-2 infections which are becoming increasingly important. The kit targets 2 genes RdRp and ORFb-nsp14, and the human RNAse P gene as the internal control to help detect a range of mutant strains, as informed by Union Ministry of Science and Technology.
The new kit is based on multiplex Taqman chemistry, amplifying all three genes in a single reaction. The amplification time for the assay is 45 minutes, apart from the time required for the RNA isolation from nasopharyngeal swab samples. Multiplexing two confirmatory genes will help shortlist possible new coronavirus variants if one of the genes fails to amplify and can be marked for sequence analysis.
It has been found that the kit has 97.3 % sensitivity and 100% specificity in detecting Covid-19. The kit has been validated by ICMR.