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CCMB FINDS CHEAPER, MORE EFFECTIVE RT-PCR METHOD

Focus: GS-III Science and Technology

Why in news?

  • Currently, the preferred protocol for testing uses the RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction) test which is times consuming and expensive.
  • Researchers have studied methods using RT-PCR with dry swabs which helps in bypassing the RNA isolation stage reducing time consumed and expense.

Why was this needed?

  • In the usual method of testing, nasal swabs collected from a person are placed in a viral transport medium (VTM).
  • From this, a part of the liquid is taken, the viral RNA is extracted and RT-PCR test is carried out.
  • The remainder is stored. It is the step of isolating the RNA that takes time and is expensive.
  • The standard method is also known to have a problem of false negatives.

What is RT-PCR?

  • Real time RT-PCR is a nuclear-derived method for detecting the presence of specific genetic material from any pathogen, including a virus.
  • Originally, the method used radioactive isotope markers to detect targeted genetic materials, but subsequent refining has led to the replacement of the isotopic labelling with special markers, most frequently fluorescent dyes.
  • With this technique, scientists can see the results almost immediately while the process is still ongoing; conventional RT-PCR only provides results at the end.
  • While real time RT-PCR is now the most widely used method for detecting coronaviruses, many countries still need support in setting up and using the technique.

-Source: Hindustan Times

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September 2022
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