IIT Delhi | Photo: Commons
IIT Delhi | Photo: Commons
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New Delhi: Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi have developed a test kit that could slash the cost of diagnosing COVID-19.

The test kit, developed at the Kusuma School of Biological Sciences, has been successful at the laboratory stage, and is now at the clinical trial stage at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune.

The team that has worked on the kit says once it clears clinical trials, it will make testing for the novel coronavirus cheaper and widely available. However, team members refused to comment on the cost difference at this stage. The government has imposed a price cap on testing for the coronavirus at Rs 4,500.

Also read: Twitter India launches COVID-19 page for updates from authorities

Science behind the kit

Vivekanandan Perumal, assistant professor at the Kusuma School of Biological Sciences and a member of the team that worked on the kit, explained the science behind it.

“The way we are trying to make testing for COVID-19 cheaper is by making some changes at the third stage of testing. The COVID-19 test is a three-step process, and at the third stage, amplification is needed, for which, a probe is supposed to be used. We are not using a probe, and this would potentially save cost,” Perumal said.

“Most of the test kits that are currently available in the market are using a probe, which is the most expensive element. We are not using that for the test. It is successful at the laboratory level, but now we have sent it for clinical trials to NIV Pune, and are awaiting the results from them,” he added.

Probe is a DNA sequence which has fluorescent labels, which signal the presence of the coronavirus in humans. The probe is manufactured by private companies and is supposed to be obtained for the purpose of these tests. The IIT-Delhi researchers are using other chemical processes to detect the virus.

“We are using fluorescent labels combined with different chemical techniques at the second stage of testing itself to get the results,” Perumal explained.

Also read: Anand Mahindra offers resorts as COVID-19 hospitals, donates 100% of salary to set up fund


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  1. True. But many benevolent people can lend financial n tech supports like piramal ji
    Anand Mahindra
    Azumji Premji
    Roshni Nadr
    and Mrs Mukesh Ambani of R foundation.
    We hv to sit with them.
    Our PM can use full oposition party for complet mobilisation n make them as solution partner.
    Remember when ship is sinking any Anchor is good.
    Co founder NGO Darshan Sanskar Foundation

  2. India should never reduce investment in defence and pay the price. Rather it should invest more in medical research and development and development of Pharma API and intermediary to cut Chinese dependence. India is a leader in formulation but requires backward integration .

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