The National Institute of Virology in Pune has successfully developed the first indigenous antibody detection kit for COVID-19 that will play a critical role in surveillance for coronavirus infection, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Sunday. The test kit has the advantage of testing 90 samples together in a single run of 2.5 hours so that healthcare professionals can proceed quickly with necessary next steps, Vardhan said.
"National Institute of Virology, Pune, has successfully developed the 1st indigenous anti-SARS-CoV-2 human IgG ELISA test kit for antibody detection of COVID-19," the minister said in one of a series of tweets. "This robust test will play a critical role in surveillance of proportion of the population exposed to SARSCoV2 infection," he said.
This kit was validated at two sites in Mumbai and has high sensitivity and accuracy, Vardhan said. The ELISA-based testing is easily possible even at district level, he said. Developed in a month's time, the testing kit would help to study the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies in the Indian population.
It is cost-effective, sensitive, rapid, and a large number of samples can be tested at any level of clinical setting, public health centers and hospitals. The Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Virology, Pune, technology has been transferred to Zydus Cadila for mass-scale production.
The Drug Controller General has granted commercial production and marketing permission to Zydus, Vardhan said. The ICMR recently has cancelled orders for about half a million COVID-19 rapid antibody test kits from China after they were found to be giving out inaccurate results. The testing technique is used to detect antibodies in the blood of people who may have had coronavirus infection.