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IIT-HYDERABAD DEVELOPS CHEAPER COVID-19 TESTING KITS


Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad have developed a first of its kind testing kits for COVID-19 , which can deliver results in under 20 minutes.

“We have developed a Covid-19 testing kit which can deliver results in 20 minutes for symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. The uniqueness of this test kit is that it functions sans the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR),” Shiv Govind Singh, the professor at IIT-Hyderabad’s Electrical Engineering Department said.

The test kit has been developed at a cost of Rs. 550 , but can be reduced to a cost of upto Rs. 350, if mass produced, they said.

According to researchers, these test kits do not employ the Reverse Transcript Polymerase Chain Reaction, which is the one that is currently being used to detect COVID-19 . Instead provides for an alternative testing method .

While a patent has been filed , the team is conducting test trails for the same at ESIC Medical College & Hospital in Hyderbad. They have also sought for an approval from the Indian Counsil for Medical Research (ICMR) .

“The low cost testing kits are easy to carry around and tests can be done at point of care. The testing methods used is an alternate to the currently employed method.We identified a unique sequence of conserved regions of COVID-19 genome,” said Mr. Singh , who lead the three-member team.

The researchers have also claimed that the ones they have developed were “probe-free” as opposed to the “probe-based” method employed by testing kits currently being used.

Before IIT-Hyderabd, IIT-Delhi became the first academic institute to have obtained the approval of ICMR for a real-time PCRP-based diagnostic assay.

Recent estimates have shown that India has now become the fifth-worst COVID-19 hit country, as it has surpassed Spain by reporting a total of 2,41,970 cases through out the country.

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