New Delhi: The recently developed multiplex RT-PCR kit is highly effective and accurate in identifying the various mutant strains of the Covid-19 virus responsible for the global pandemic. We know that the second wave of pandemics is affecting us with many different mutants, so it is becoming important to select the target gene in multiplex RT-PCR screening to identify the virus accurately.
Although the corona virus makes fewer errors than other RNA viruses, mutations in the S, R and N genes often interfere with RT-PCR testing. For example, due to the removal of 6 bases in RNA, the “Variant of Concern” B1.1.7 (also known as the UK variant) has 69-70del.
These new multiplex RT-PCR kits developed by the Sri Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Science and Technology (SCTIMST), an institute of national importance under the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, as an internal control to identify a range of mutant strains. SAAS targets two different genes of COV2: the RDRP and ORFB-NSP14 and the human RNase P gene.
Several studies have shown that the RDRP and ORF1B-NSP14 genes are more effective in detecting covid-19. To target multiple variants in the second wave of Covid, more precise results can be given using two more precise genes, such as RDRP and ORF-NSP14. ORFB-NSP14 is one of the lowest mutated genes in Covid-19 and currently, there are no kits available in the market to detect Covid with the help of ORF-NSP14.
The new kit is based on multiplex Tackman chemistry, which amplifies all three genes in a single reaction. In addition to the time required for RNA isolation from nasopharyngeal swab samples, the amplification time for the test is 45 minutes. Multiplexing of two putative genes will help identify potential new variants. If one of the two genes fails to grow, it can still be identified for sequence analysis.
ICMR has accredited this kit at the National Institute of Virology, Pune, and during investigation has found that this kit has 97.3% sensitivity and 100% specificity in terms of detection of Covid-19.
SCTIMST has signed a Non-Exclusive License MoU on 14 May 2021 with Huwel Lifesciences, Hyderabad for commercial use of this kit.
Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, said that “This special RT-PCR kit will easily become an important weapon in our fight against Covid-19 by easily detecting SARC-COV-2 mutations.”