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Is Genome Sequencing Ultimate Solution to Detect Omicron Variant? Here’s What Experts Have to Say

Omicron Variant Latest News Today: Giving details, Dr Naveen Dang, director of Dr Dang’s lab, said the S gene dropout or S gene target failure is an indicator to ascertain the presence of Omicron variant in infected people.

Published: December 1, 2021 10:06 PM IST

By News Desk | Edited by Manmath Nayak

Omicron Variant

Omicron Variant Latest News Today: As several countries across the world reel under the threat of new variant of Covid Omicron, experts on Wednesday stated that genome sequencing is one of the indicators for detection and ultimate diagnosis of Omicron. They said the gene sequencing depends on the suspected cases and the missing S-gene can finally confirm the presence of the Omicron variant in the infected person.

Speaking to news agency ANI, Dr Naveen Dang, director of Dr. Dang’s lab said the S gene dropout or S gene target failure is an indicator to ascertain the presence of Omicron variant. However, he added that it is the gene sequencing on which the ultimate diagnosis of Omicron depends.

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Giving details of the process, he said the mutations in the latest variant have happened in the S gene and common RT-PCR kits being used will be able to identify positive or negative, but will not be able to identify if the positive result is due to the mutation of the S gene.

He said when a test is being done, most of them target a large number of genes and usually tests in India test the E, N and Rd Rp genes. He added that even if one of these genes identifies as positive, we can identify they tested positive for COVID-19. However, most of the tests in India are not testing the S-gene because there was no kind of requirement for it. “But if we have a test in which you have multiple genes, and one of the genes included in the SG and if the test shows positive for all the genes but negative for S-gene, we can say that this is an S-gene dropout or S-gene failure target failure. So if that happened, then by proxy we can say by default, we can say that this is Omicron and such sample should be on a priority basis. We send for gene sequencing studies. So once that is done only then only it can confirm whether it is the variant or not”, Dr Dang was quoted saying by ANI.

He, however, maintained that since Omicron was very recently detected, there is very little data on its transmission and added that it is really early to say about how contagious the strain could be.

“We do not know how severe the cases are going to be. As you know very well that this virus was first identified and spoken about on November 26, is not even a week back. So it is too early to comment how severe the infection is going to be. Different kinds of data are coming in and everybody is working extremely hard to find out where we are and where we’re going to go,” Dr. Dang said.

He stressed on the precautionary measure and emphasized maximum vaccinations and an additional booster dose along with abiding by Covid-appropriate behaviour.

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