A low-cost COVID-19 test kit developed by the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi that uses an alternative testing method will be launched on Wednesday, according to the IIT director here. IIT Delhi, which became the first academic institution to develop a COVID-19 testing method, gave non-exclusive open license to companies for commercializing the test, but with a price rider. While the institute had kept a price rider of Rs 500 per kit, the company Newtech Medical Devices, which is launching the kit named 'Corosure' on Wednesday, has not announced the price yet.
Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank and Minister of State for HRD Sanjay Dhotre will launch the kit. "This should change the paradigm of COVID-19 testing in the country, both in terms of scale and cost. The product, approved by ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) and DCGI (Drug Controller General of India), is being launched tomorrow. "The company Newtech Medical Devices, using IIT Delhi technology, can do two million tests per month at an extremely affordable cost. This is a true example of the lab to market," said IIT Delhi Director V Ramgopal Rao.
According to the team at IIT Delhi, the current testing methods available are "probe-based", while the one developed by them is a "probe-free" method, which reduces the testing cost without compromising on accuracy. Using comparative sequence analyses, the IIT Delhi team identified unique regions (short stretches of RNA sequences) in the COVID-19 and SARS COV-2 genome.
"These unique regions are not present in other human coronaviruses providing an opportunity to specifically detect COVID-19," Professor Vivekanandan Perumal, lead member of the team, had told PTI. "Primer sets, targeting unique regions in the spike protein of COVID-19, were designed and tested using real-time polymerase chain reaction. The primers designed by the group specifically bind to regions conserved in over 200 fully sequenced COVID-19 genomes. The sensitivity of this in-house assay is comparable to that of commercially available kits," Perumal added. With 28,498 fresh cases recorded in a day, India's COVID-19 tally sprinted past nine lakh on Tuesday, just three days after it crossed the eight-lakh mark, according to the Union health ministry data.
Meanwhile, the Government today said the COVID19 recovery rate has improved to 63.24 percent. A total of 5, 92,032 people have recovered in the country so far. In the last 24 hours, 20,572 people have recovered from Covid-19. Presently, the total number of active cases is 3,19,840. The case fatality rate in the country is 2.60 percent. 30 States and Union Territories have a lower fatality rate than the national average.
Indian Council of Medical Research, ICMR said that a total of 3,20,161 tests were conducted by various laboratories in the country in the last 24 hours. This is the highest number of tests conducted in the country in one day since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country. So far, one crore of 24,12,664 tests has been conducted.