New RT-PCR kit 97.3% sensitive in detecting Covid mutants: All you need to know
Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday said the new RT-PCR kit developed by Sree Chitra Turunal Institute for Medical Science and Technology under the department of sciences and technology is 97.3 per cent sensitive. On Tuesday, the government announced the development of the kit and said it has a higher accuracy of detecting the various mutant strains of the Covid-19 virus. It also has 100 per cent specificity in detection, the government said.
Here is all you need to know
> RT-PCR test is considered the gold standard of Covid testing, though the government in its latest protocol shifted the focus from RT-PCR tests to rapid antigen tests as the RT-PCR labs came under immense pressure in April with an unprecedented rise in the number of tests.
> It was apprehended that the RT-PCR test was not detecting mutant strains as many people tested false negative. But experts reiterated that all strains are detected in RT-PCR tests.
> Now the new kit claims to detect a wide range of mutant strains by targeting two SARS CoV2 genes: RdRp and ORFb-nsp14.
> Studies have shown that targeting these two genes can give precise results as they are two highly accurate confirmatory genes.
> Mutation refers to the continuous and natural process of change in the virus. It has been found out that the ORFb-nsp14 gene has the least mutations and is, therefore, a key to fool-proof detection, be it any variant strain.
> Through this kit, "facile detection" of mutations will take place.