Kolkata, May 4 : GCC Biotech (India) Pvt. Ltd, a Department for Scientific & Industrial Research (DSIR), under the Union Ministry of Science & Technology accredited, and ISO 13485 certified Biotech reagent manufacturing company based in West Bengal, developed a SARSCov-2 viral RNA detection kit named DiAGSure nCOV-19 Detection Assay to meet the diagnostic testing challenges the country is presently facing. This kit, recently approved by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), is by far the cheapest SARS Cov-2 testing kit in the country and perhaps the world with a price tag of Rs.500 (less than $7).
It has demonstrated a near 100% sensitivity as well as specificity in detecting the virus within a short span of 90 minutes (testing time). Moreover, with the strategically designed primers deployed for detecting the viral nucleic acid, this test promises to cover for possible variations in viral strain character significantly limiting the chances of false-negative results.
In fact, this kit is capable of detecting the virus at an extremely low viral load or titer even at the very early stages of the viral infection. Reduction of cost for this test compared to the existing testing kits for the virus in the market, was largely possible because of the unflinching efforts of an extremely dedicated group of young scientists from Bengal who toiled day and night to ensure non-dependence on imported reagents and indigenously developed all reagents including the polymerase enzymes and primers composing this kit, much in consonance with our governments ‘Make in India’ mission.
However, the quality of the kit remains uncompromised with respect to the quality-assurance guidelines issued by WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA “Admittedly, with the restriction on foreign flights and the uncertainly pervading the entire commercial world, it has become increasingly challenging to import reagents and kits from overseas. Moreover, we cannot afford to depend on such imported kits to meet the increased demand for community testing in our country especially when we are projecting one of the world’s lowest numbers in terms of testing performed per million people.
Thus this kit developed indigenously using cutting-edge technology through almost two months of tireless labor by a young team of Indian scientists can help fulfill our goals of ‘Test for Everyone’, a company spokesperson Dr. Avijit Ghosh (Head of R&D) here on Monday said. In fact, the company has already developed the capability to provide 1 crore kits per month to the country. Further, it claims that its test kits can cover about 160 patients with one kit. An average lab with automated PCR can thus easily test more than 1000 patients a day using this kit with its one-step testing protocol. (UNI)