Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi is all set to launch a low-cost COVID-19 testing kit on Wednesday. IIT Delhi has become the first institute in India to develop a COVID-19 testing method. The institute has given non-exclusive open licence to corporates for commercialising the cheap COVID-19 test but it comes with a price rider.
The price rider has been kept at Rs 500 per kit, according to NewTech Medical Devices who are launching the cheap COVID-19 kit. The COVID-19 testing kit has been named 'Corosure' and its market price has not been announced yet.
Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Minister of State for HRD Sanjay Dhotre are expected to launch the kit tomorrow.
'Corosure' has been approved by top government bodies Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). "The company Newtech Medical Devices, using IIT Delhi technology, can do two million tests per month at an extremely affordable cost. This is a true example of lab to market," said IIT Delhi Director V Ramgopal Rao.
According to the team at IIT Delhi, the current testing methods available are "probe-based", while the one developed by them is a "probe-free" method, which reduces the testing cost without compromising on accuracy.
Using comparative sequence analyses, the IIT Delhi team identified unique regions (short stretches of RNA sequences) in the COVID-19 and SARS COV-2 genome. "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.
"Primer sets, targeting unique regions in the spike protein of COVID-19, were designed and tested using real-time polymerase chain reaction. The primers designed by the group specifically bind to regions conserved in over 200 fully sequenced COVID-19 genomes. The sensitivity of this in-house assay is comparable to that of commercially available kits," Perumal added.
(WIth PTI Inputs)