New RT PCR kits with more accuracy for a mutant strain

ICMR has validated this kit at the National Institute of Virology, Pune, and found that it has 97.3% sensitivity and 100% specificity in covid19 detection.

GN Bureau | May 19, 2021


#ICMR   #RTPCR   #Covidtest   #mutantstrain   #corona   #covid19  

As the pandemic is going through a second wave with multiple variants, the selection of target genes in multiplex RT-PCR assay is becoming critical for accurate detection of the virus. DST institute has developed a new multiplex RT-PCR kit with novel gene targets to facilitate detection across various mutant strains of COVID 19.

“This RT-PCR kit will be a significant weapon in our fight against COVID-19 by a facile detection of SARS-CoV-2 mutations,” says Secretary, DST, Prof Ashutosh Sharma

A newly developed multiplex RT-PCR kit has a higher accuracy of detecting covid19 across the various mutant strains of the virus responsible for the global pandemic says the note released by the ministry.

The new multiplex RT-PCR kit developed by Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), an Institute of National Importance under the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India targets two SARS CoV2 genes: RdRp and ORFb-nsp14, and the human RNAse P gene as the internal control to help detect a range of mutant strains.

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 variants if one of the genes fails to amplify and can be marked for sequence analysis.

ICMR has validated this kit at the National Institute of Virology, Pune, and found that it has 97.3% sensitivity and 100% specificity in covid19 detection.

SCTIMST has signed a non-exclusive license MoU with Huwel Lifesciences, Hyderabad, on 14th May 2021 to commercialize the kit.


“This unique RT-PCR kit will be a significant weapon in our fight against COVID-19 by a facile detection of SARS-CoV-2 mutations which are becoming increasingly important,” said Prof Ashutosh Sharma.

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