Lucknow institute develops affordable coronavirus test

Lucknow: Lucknow’s Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences has claimed to have developed a cheap rapid test that can detect coronavirus in less than 30 minutes.

Developed by the Department of Molecular Medicine and Biotechnology at the premiere government institution, the RNA-based test will cost just Rs 500 after it gets approval from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

The test uses the same process of RNA testing which is followed in the RT-PCR technology presently used on the directions of the ICMR.

Currently, a coronavirus test costs Rs 5,000 and it takes three to four hours to give results.

The new technology is cost-effective and takes just 30 minutes to give results, said Swasti Tiwari, head of the Department of Molecular Medicine and Biotechnology.

We have applied for the patent. After the ICMR gives green signal, the facility will be available in next three to four months,” Tiwari added.

The procedure has temporarily been called ‘Hi-Screen’ test but a proper name will follow after the commercialisation of the technology.

Dr Tiwari said currently they cannot share details about the technology.

The technology was already available but nobody had thought that it could be used for COVID testing, but we modified it for this very purpose, she said, adding that the test does not require sophisticated instrumentation or expertise for result interpretation.

The technology can be made available for commercialisation through a proper channel and requires an ICMR approval for use in public, she added.

This will have a direct impact on mass screening. Next week, we will get an expression of interest from all companies interested in the technology. We can go in partnership after the regulatory approvals,” she added.

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