IIT-KGP’s COVID-19 testing technology gets ICMR approval

The ultra-low-cost portable device unit costs only around Rs 500 per test

New Delhi October 22 dmanewsdesk: The diagnostic machine – COVIRAP – developed by IIT Kharagpur researchers has been successfully validated by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). After rigorous testing with patient samples by an authorized ICMR laboratory, adhering to their strict guidelines, ICMR has now granted certification for the COVID-19 diagnostic test, which can produce results within one hour.

The testing method implements a reliable and accurate molecular diagnostic procedure that can be conducted in an ultra-low-cost portable device. The test results are rendered via a custom-made mobile application for dissemination without requiring manual interpretation.

Education minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, said, “This innovation has made high-quality and accurate COVID testing affordable for the common people with a testing cost of around Rs 500 which can further be reduced through government intervention. The machine can be developed at a cost of less than Rs 10,000 with minimal infrastructural requirement making the technology affordable to common people.”

Speaking about the commercialisation, VK Tewari, director of IITKGP, said, “While the institute can produce the testing kit up to a certain scale, patent licensing will facilitate commercialization opportunities for medical technology companies. Any corporate or start-up can approach the institute for technology licensing and commercial scale of production. The institute is open to tie-ups, with due measures of protecting the interest of public health amidst the pandemic situation.”https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/bennettjul2020_form_edutimes.cms

Other than COVID-19 testing, many other tests, falling under the category of ‘isothermal nucleic acid-based tests’ (INAT), can be performed in the same machine including influenza, malaria, dengue, Japanese encephalitis, tuberculosis and many other infectious, as well as vector-borne disease.

Mamta Chawla Sarkar, who oversaw the patient trials on behalf of ICMR-National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) said, “A detailed scrutiny of the testing results has clearly shown that this assay holds the capability of detecting extremely low levels of viral loads that any other method based on similar principles of testing, even those from the most celebrated research groups across the world, could not come up with so far.

ICMR-NICED has further certified the test to be extremely user-friendly. Notably, the number of tests per one-hour batch in a single machine unit can be further increased for the purpose of testing on a mass scale.

Source: Education Times

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