- India develops a fast diagnostic kit for COVID-19
- The kit costs Rs. 1000 and gives results in 2 hours
- The kit was developed in a Kerala Medical Institute
At dark times like this, giving a ray of hope to millions is the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Thiruvananthapuram (or Trivandrum) has developed a diagnostic test kit for the COVID-19 which can confirm the sample in just 2 hours and costs as low as Rs. 1000.
Earlier the US said that Abbott Laboratories has created a portable COVID-19 test kit which can give test results in 5 minutes with maximum accuracy.
However, the COVID-19 test kit which is made in India and called “Chitra GeneLAMP-N” is highly specific for the SARS-CoV-2 N-gene which is the novel Coronavirus and is designed to detect the two regions of the gene. It is being claimed that the test will give accurate results even after the viral gene will undergo a mutation during the spread.
The developers of this testing describes that it will not take longer than 10 minutes to detect the virus and the time of “sample to result” or from RNA extraction in the swab to RT-LAMP detection time) is said to take 2 hours.
The added that at many as 30 samples can be tested in a single batch and the machines will cost Rs. 2.5 lakh.
The tests which were performed at NIV Alappuzha, and authorised under ICMR showed that this new testing kit has 100% accuracy and matches the test results using RT-PCR. Once the ICMR will approve of the tests, the license of manufacturing will have to be obtained from CDSCO (Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation).
The kit was developed by Dr Anoop Thekkuveettil who is a Senior Scientist of Biomedical Technology Wing at SCTIMST and his team in 3 weeks.
Director of SCTIMST, Dr Asha Kishore said, “The confirmatory diagnostic test, which detects the N Gene of SARS- COV2 using reverse transcriptase loop-mediated amplification of viral nucleic acid (RT-LAMP), will be one of the world’s first few if not the first of its kinds in the world. We have developed the device in a fast track mode,”.
Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary at the Department of Science and Technology (DST) also talked about how the experts working together can use their knowledge to make a breakthrough during crisis like these. He said, “Development of a novel, inexpensive, rapid confirmatory for the diagnosis of COVID1-9 by Sree Chitra in record time is a compelling example of how a creative team of clinicians and scientists working together seamlessly can leverage knowledge and infrastructure to make relevant breakthroughs,”.
With the help of these machines, a testing facility will be easily set-up in the laboratories of district hospitals which do not have world-class facilities or trained laboratory technicians.
Sree Chitra, the institute, also developed the specific RNA extraction kit along with the GeneLAMP-N tests kits and testing devices. The technology was allowed to be manufacture to M/S Agappe Diagnostics Ltd, Ernakulam, for national and international operations.