Jakarta – BRIN Public Relations. The number of daily positive cases of Covid-19 in Indonesia tends to increase lately. This increase cannot be separated from the Omicron variant that is spreading in Indonesia, especially Jakarta. Tracing and testing need to be administered to suppress positive cases of Covid-19.

The National Research and Innovation Agency of the Republic of Indonesia (BRIN RI) has developed a method to detect Covid-19, called RT-LAMP (Reverse Transcription Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification). Tjandrawati Mozef, a researcher from the Chemical Research Center – Engineering Science Research Organization (OR – IPT), said that RT-LAMP is able to detect the Covid-19 virus, including the Delta and Omicron variants.

“Omicron samples only appeared in Indonesia in mid-December last year, the first time the Whole Genome Sequence (WGS) data appeared. The results of our research show that the Kit-RT-LAMP can detect Omicron sample,” explained Tjandrawati, to Sapa Media, online, Monday (17/01).

RT-LAMP has obtained distribution permit from the Indonesian Ministry of Health which is valid for the next 5 years. This product falls under the category of NAAT (Nucleic Acid Amplification test) molecular test along with Quantitative Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (qRT-PCR) and Molecular Rapid Test (TCM), with excellent accuracy.

RT-LAMP is a Covid-19 detector without a PCR tool. The reaction of target gene amplification using the RT-LAMP method takes less than 1 hour so that the diagnosis of Covid-19 results can be obtained faster, with results as accurate as RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction).

“The difference between RT LAMP and RT-PCR is that in the target gene amplification process, the RT-LAMP reaction takes place isothermally or at constant temperature, so it does not require a thermocycler or PCR device,” she added.

This RT-LAMP innovation product uses an RNA extract sample from a nasal swab which can be detected qualitatively by observing the presence of precipitation with good accuracy.

According to Tjandrawati, she and her team developed RT-LAMP not to replace any detection method, because each method has its own advantages and disadvantages.

“This product is expected not only to reach cities, but we hope also reach areas that are difficult to reach by large equipment such as PCR,” she said.

According to her, in establishing a diagnosis, the more complete the method, the better. The RT-LAMP method cannot be compared with the antigen or antibody swab method due to different technologies.

“The antigen or antibody swab method is different; the technology is based on immunology. RT-LAMP is molecular based, so RT-LAMP is equivalent to RT-PCR and TCM,” she said.

The next stage after obtaining the distribution permit, continued Tjandrawati, is the commercialization stage to the industry – PT Biosains Medika Indonesia, with the trademark Qi-LAMP-O.

As a researcher, she reiterated the need for continual clinical trials to obtain more data that can strengthen this research. In addition, the experience in developing Covid-19 detection products is the ‘capital’ to be able to improve the mitigation capability in controlling the virus, by developing better detection products.

“The spread of this virus cannot be 100 percent stopped, although we hope it will disappear. But like the trait of pathogenic microorganisms, every living thing has the ability to survive, the ability to mutate, as long as it is possible, will remain there,” she said.

Acting Head of BRIN’s Chemical Research Center, Yeny Meliana, said that in several countries, the RT-LAMP method has been recognized as one of methods equivalent to RT-PCR to detect Covid-19.

“The results of this research show that we have mastered the key technology, so that in the future we will be better prepared if there are new challenges, and we will be more prepared with new innovations and products related to detection technology, not only Covid-19. Although we all hope that there will be no more pandemics like Covid-19,” he hoped (tnt).