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New diagnostic kit developed in India to give Covid-19 test result in 2 hours

By Pallavi Shree

The fight against Covid-19 pandemic is set to get a big boost with the development of a new diagnostic kit that can confirm novel coronavirus test results in just two hours at a low cost of around Rs.1000 per test. This indigenously developed test kit is one of the world’s first few of its kind. The new test kit named ‘Chitra GeneLAMP-N’ is expected to give a huge boost to the number of tests conducted for the Covid-19. This will prove a boon for the states like Bihar where there is very few testing facilities for the new virus that has caused mayhem across the world.

At present, it takes a couple of days to get the result of Covid-19 test and cost is over Rs.4000 per test.

The Department of Science and Technology has funded the development of a new test kit. This kit is highly specific for SARS-CoV-2 N-gene and can detect two regions of the gene, which will ensure that the test does not fail even if one region of the viral gene undergoes mutation during its current spread.

The new kit has been developed by Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum, an Institute of National Importance, of the Department of Science and Technology (DST). It detects the N Gene of SARS- COV2 using reverse transcriptase loop-mediated amplification of viral nucleic acid (RT-LAMP).


The tests performed by the new kit has 100 per cent accuracy and match with test results using RT-PCR. The current PCR kits in India enable detection of E gene for screening and RdRp gene for confirmation. Chitra GeneLAMP-N gene testing will allow confirmation in one test without the need for a screening test and at much lower costs.

The detection time is 10 minutes, and the sample to result time (from RNA extraction in swab to RT-LAMP detection time) will be less than 2 hours. A total of 30 samples can be tested in a single batch in a single machine allowing a large number of samples to be tested each day, Ministry of Science & Technology said in a statement.

The testing facility can be easily set up even in the laboratories of district hospitals with limited facilities and trained laboratory technicians. The results can be read from the machine from the change in fluorescence. The cost of testing with the new device for LAMP testing and the test kit for 2 regions of N gene (including RNA extraction) will be less than Rs.1000 per test for the laboratory.

Testing for the Covid-19 has been very slow in India due to the lack of testing kits. Most of the kits have been imported from Germany. The first made-in-India test kit for Covid-19 was developed by Pune-based molecular diagnostics company Mylab Discovery Solutions Pvt Ltd at the end of March. The kit is named ‘Mylab PathoDetect COVID-19 Qualitative PCR kit.

“Development of a novel, inexpensive, rapid confirmatory for the diagnosis of Covid-19 by Sree Chitra in record time is a compelling example of how a creative team of clinicians and scientists working together seamlessly can leverage knowledge and infrastructure to make relevant breakthroughs,” said Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology.

The new research on diagnosis and treatment is very important as Covid-19 cases continue to rise in India on each passing day. As on 16 April, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 reached 12,380. It has also resulted in death of 414 person. As many as 1489 persons have been cured/discharged after recovery. Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of Covid-19 in India is 3.3 per cent.  The percentage of people recovered, so far, is 12.02 per cent.

(Pallavi Shree is Founder Trustee, Gyan Shree Foundation Trust)

Gyanendra Kumar Keshri

Gyanendra Kumar Keshri is consulting editor of BiharConnect. He has nearly 20 years of experience in journalism, having worked for diverse media streams in India and abroad.

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