A low-cost COVID-19 test kit developed by Indian Institute of Technology Delhi will be launched tomorrow.
IIT Delhi, which became the first academic institute to develop a COVID-19 testing method, gave non-exclusive open licence to companies for commercialising the test, but with a price rider.
While the institute had kept a price rider of Rs 500 per kit, the company Newtech Medical Devices, which is launching the kit named ‘corosure’ on Wednesday, has not announced the price yet.
Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank and Minister of State for HRD Sanjay Dhotre will launch the kit.
This should change the paradigm of COVID-19 testing in the country, both in terms of scale and cost.
The product has been approved by ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) and DCGI (Drug Controller General of India).
“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 has 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.
The primers designed by the group specifically bind to regions conserved in over 200 fully sequenced COVID-19 genomes.
In view of fast spread and lack of specific treatment for COVID-19, there have been worldwide fast track researches to deal with this pandemic. IIT Delhi has joined the efforts by initiating key research and development projects on various aspects viz. PPE’s, production of three layered surgical masks and high efficiency face masks (N95), antimicrobial fabric development, SARS CoV2 detection assay, preparation of sanitizer, designing low cost ventilators and screening inhibitors for nCoV-19 structural proteins vis-à-vis designing virus-like particles for attempting vaccine development.
All the ongoing COVID-19 related projects at the Institute, announcements from various funding agencies to support researches on different aspects have been herein put together.