IIIM is developing a novel Covid-19 test kit for quickly diagnosing infections and looking for ICMR nods
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JAMMU: Jammu-based CSIR-IIIM developed a novel, simpler, and more affordable diagnostic kit for quickly screening large numbers of suspicious coronavirus infected people and reached out to the ICMR on Sunday to evaluate and approve it.

The new Covid-19 diagnostic kit based on reverse transcriptase loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) was developed as an alternative to quantitative standard PCR (qPCR) using the reverse transcription (RT) method, which is very sensitive , but requires expensive instruments, said IIIM director Dr. D Srinivasa Reddy to PTI.

The new kit based on an RT-LAMP assay was developed by the CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine in collaboration with Reliance Industries.

“We have developed a diagnostic kit based on RT-LAMP assays. Our laboratory and Reliance Industries Limited jointly developed this kit,” he said.

He said the novel kit had been submitted to the ICMR and is currently being evaluated.

Dr. Reddy provided more details, saying that the RT-LAMP assay does not require the sophisticated and expensive equipment such as real-time PCR equipment that RT-PCR test kits require.

“No PCR equipment is needed. So it will be a cheaper and faster kit (for testing). You have to approve it. We are waiting for approval to go to market,” he said.

Explaining the importance of the novel diagnostic kit based on RT-LAMP assays, an IIIM official said that given the current wave of infections, large-scale diagnostic methods are required to determine the spread of the virus in populations quickly, comprehensively and sensitively to the population Isolation of infected people.

In addition, continuous and repeated testing of large groups within a population may be required as a long-term strategy to contain new outbreaks while keeping societies and economies viable until effective vaccines become available, he added.

Under the given circumstances, the novel diagnostic kit based on an RT-LAMP assay could prove to be an indispensable asset in the fight against Covid-19. Adding the RT-LAMP test was said to be quick, accurate, and inexpensive to do with native components and set up with minimal expertise and instrumentation.

While the cost of the kit has not yet been decided, it will be much cheaper than the cost of the existing RT-PCR equipment, he said.

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