RGCB develops low-cost testing kit for COVID-19

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The advantage of the rapid antibody kits is that it can produce the result within 30-45 minutes compared to 24 hours RT-PCR takes currently. It is also cheaper compared to other testing kits available in the market now.

 

The Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) in Kerala’s capital of Thiruvananthapuram has developed a rapid test kit for COVID-19.

The kit which has undergone preliminary testing is awaiting validation by the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune for commercial production, says Dr Radhakrishna Pillai of the RGCB, whose team has developed the kit.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had on Thursday allowed the use of rapid antibody kits in COVID-19 hotspots (where a large number of cases are reported). However, they still need to undertake the Reverse Transcription-Polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), which is the only test that can identify and diagnose the novel coronavirus.

The advantage of the rapid antibody kits is that it can produce the result within 30-45 minutes compared to 24 hours RT-PCR takes currently. It is also cheaper compared to other testing kits available in the market now.

According to RGCB officials, the price of the kit will be less than Rs.500 once mass production begins. "The kit is hardly the size of a pregnancy testing kit. This is also very cost-efficient. Once we begin the mass production, we can get one kit at approximately Rs 350 to Rs 500. This will also enable us to increase the rate of testing and further streamline the list of suspected patients," Pillai was quoted by India today as saying.

According to a News Minute report, the RGCB team has received the production license from the government of India and once the NIV validates the test, they would start mass production. The RGCB is among the testing centres in the state for COVID-19.

The validation will make RGCB one of the largest Covid-19 testing facilities in the country. As per the current facilities, the centre can test up to 3,000 samples in 24 hours.

Image Credit: News Minute

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