Can ‘Omicron’ COVID Variant Be Detected Using PCR Testing? Know What WHO Says

Geneva: The big question around Omicron, the new COVID-19 variant first detected in South Africa is, can PCR tests can detect the infection?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says while PCR tests can detect infection with Omicron, studies are looking to whether the COVID-19 variant of concern has any impact on other test types.

“The widely-used PCR tests continue to detect infection, including infection with Omicron, as we have seen with other variants,” the WHO said in an update, news agency AFP reported.

“Studies are ongoing to determine whether there is any impact on other types of tests, including rapid antigen detection tests.”

The WHO on Friday declared Omicron, first detected earlier this month in southern Africa, to be a variant of concern.

The classification put Omicron into the most troubling category of COVID-19 variants, along with the globally dominant Delta, and its weaker rivals Alpha, Beta and Gamma.

In its update, the WHO said it was “not yet clear” whether Omicron spreads more easily from person to person, or whether infection with the variant causes more severe disease compared to other strains.

“There is currently no information to suggest that symptoms associated with Omicron are different from those from other variants,” the UN health agency said.

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