IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


5th January, 2022 Health


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  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved a testing kit for detecting the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2.



  • The kit is manufactured by Tata Medical and Diagnostics and is named OmiSure.
  • The kit will be used to confirm Omicron in patients with its S-Gene Target Failure (SGTF) strategy.

S-Gene Target Failure (SGTF)

  • Covid-19 Tests target "multiple genes" of the virus so that a broad range of variants are covered.
  • For example, 'S' Gene, ORF, 'N' gene, Rdrp, 'E' gene etc are viral genes that are targeted to detect COVID-19 virus, and multiple genes make up the genetic structure of SARS-Co V-2.
  • In case of Omicron variant, the 'S' gene is not getting detected in the test due to mutation in the gene, while other gene targets such as ORF gene and N gene are getting detected.
  • The occurrence is called as 'S' Gene Target Failure (SGTF) positive cases.
  • Such samples can be presumptively reported as Omicron positive and can be sent for fast-track genome sequencing for confirmation.



  • Diagnostic services are critical for public health.
  • During an outbreak, timely information is needed to guide and tailor public health response to stop/ curtail disease spread.
  • The SGTF strategy will work as a kind of early detection at RT-PCR stage, and will help in screening COVID-19 positive samples of Omicron variant.