The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has developed a testing kit which can detect the new Omicron Covid-19 variant within two hours.

The kit has been designed by a team of ICMR scientists from the Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) for the Northeast region led by scientist Dr Biswajyoti Borkakoty.

"ICMR-RMRC, Dibrugarh, has designed and developed a hydrolysis probe-based real-time RT-PCR assay for detection of the new Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) SARS-CoV-2 that can detect the new variant within two hours. This is important because as of now a minimum of 36 hours is required for targeted sequencing and 4 to 5 days for whole-genome sequencing to detect the variant," said Dr Borkakoty.

Generally, it takes three to four days to detect the Omicron variant in infected people.

The kit is now being produced on a bulk basis by the WEst Bengal-based GCC Biotech on a public-private partnership (PPP) model.

With the latest Omicron case detected in Delhi on Saturday, overall tally of persons infected by the variant has climbed to 33 in India.

Delhi reported its second case of Omicron on Saturday after a fully vaccinated individual with a travel history to Zimbabwe and South Africa tested positive.

Maharastra is on top of the list of states which have reported Omicron cases, followed by Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Karnataka.

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