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Omicron Doesn't Escape RT-PCR Tests & RAT; States Urged To Ramp Up COVID Testing: Sources

In an important development on Tuesday, official sources revealed that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is detected during RT-PCR tests and Rapid Antigen Tests. 

Image: PTI/Pixabay


In an important development on Tuesday, official sources revealed that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is detected during RT-PCR tests and Rapid Antigen Tests. This comes amid speculation that the available diagnostic measures may not be able to accurately detect it. Moreover, sources indicated that state governments have been advised to ramp up COVID-19 testing to ensure the early detection of cases and subsequent management of such patients. Speaking on the floor of the Rajya Sabha today, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya confirmed that India has not recorded a single case of Omicron so far. 

Omicron scare

The B.1.1.529 variant of COVID-19 was first detected in South Africa from a sample collected on November 9. As infections steeply increased in the country in recent weeks, it reported this variant to the World Health Organization on November 24. Two days later, the UN health body designated it as a Variant of Concern based on the recommendations of the Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution and named it 'Omicron'. As per the WHO, preliminary evidence suggests that there may be an increased risk of reinfection with Omicron.

While studies are underway to assess its transmissibility, severity of infection, the performance of vaccines and diagnostic tests, and effectiveness of treatments, the UN health body has advised physical distancing, wearing of masks and vaccination. So far, nearly 41 countries including India have imposed travel curbs in view of the concern over the spread of the Omicron variant. For instance, persons arriving from Europe, Countries in Europe, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel have to get tested on arrival and observe home quarantine for 7 days. 

COVID-19 situation in India

At present, there are 1,00,543 active novel coronavirus cases in India whereas 3,40,18,299 patients have recovered and 4,68,980 deaths have been reported. The improvement in India's COVID-19 situation has been attributed to the rapid progress in vaccination. Apart from Covishield and Covaxin, the DCGI has approved Sputnik V, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine, and Zydus Cadila's ZyCoV-D. A total of 78,82,24,788 persons have been inoculated whereas 44,59,71,619 of them have received the second dose of the vaccine too.

Image: PTI/Pixabay

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