Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology here have developed a method to detect COVID-19 which can significantly reduce the test cost making it affordable for large sections.
The National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune is in the process of validating this test on clinical samples.
The "probe-free detection assay" developed by the researchers at the prestigious institute's Kusuma School of Biological Sciences has been optimised and tested for sensitivity at the research laboratories of the Institute. According to the team, considering the scale of the ongoing pandemic, development of indigenous kits is the need of the hour.
The central government on Saturday recommended that the maximum charge for each COVID-19 test by private laboratories should not exceed Rs 4,500.
All private laboratories which have NABL accreditation for real-time PCR SA for RNA virus will be allowed to conduct COVID-19 tests, according to the guidelines issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for COVID-19 testing in private laboratories, which were notified by the Health Ministry on Saturday night.
However, the team at IIT claims that their test can be performed at a much cheaper cost and hence will be affordable for general public.
"Using comparative sequence analysis, we have identified unique regions in COVID-19. These unique regions are not present in other human coronaviruses providing an opportunity to specifically detect COVID-19," Professor Vivekanandan Perumal, lead member of the team told PTI.
"Once the NIV validates the assay, it can be quickly scaled up to meet the increasing need in our country," he added.'