Drugs Controller OKs 45-Min, Low-Cost Covid Test Kit Launch

By Suchitra Mukherjee

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has given approval to the Tata Group for the launch of India’s first Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic (CRISPR) Covid-19 test for commercial launch.

The test is powered by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) FELUDA, which is an acronym for the FNCAS9 Editor-Limited Uniform Detection Assay.

A team of young scientists, have developed this 45 minutes cost-effective paper-based kit for Covid test, CSIR Director-General Dr Shekhar Mande said on Sunday.

“FELUDA test kit only takes 45 minutes compared to the COVID test whereas a RT-PCR takes long hours and this COVID-19 testing kit is cheaper than RT-PCR based test kit. So in terms of time cost and accuracy FELUDA test kit is best. Another advantage is that it does not require any heavy equipment like RT-PCR,” Dr Mande told ANI.

He said a laboratory in Delhi’s CSIR-IGIB has been working on CRISPR-based detection kit because they had its prior experience in working in this thing before the COVID-19 pandemic came.

“They were able to very quickly repurpose the thing for COVID and they have developed a paper-based Diagnostic kit which is called now FELUDA and that kit yesterday got approval from the Drug Controller of General India (DCGI) who is the regulatory authority for this and the kit is being commercialized by Tata sons. Tata sons who have approach DCGI for approval and yesterday receive the formal approval,” he said.

Dr Mande said that they are expecting the FELUDA kit to reach the market shortly.

“FELUDA test kit is very cost effective because many things it doesn’t require costly equipment, unlike RT-PCR. It does not require any chemical which is costly. It is very cost effective and in terms of the time, it is very quick. It can literally in 45 minutes finish the test,” he said.

Dr Mande said FELUDA kit and RT-PCR kit is different in many ways and similar in some ways.

He said another advantage is it does not require any heavy equipment like RT- PCR we can also put the testing kit in car tempos. “So we can move anywhere even villages and move them around and keep testing people.so these are the advantages of FELUDA test strip kit,” he added.

“In diagnosis, there are three principles of components diagnosis has to be rapid; the test has to be cheap and affordable at the diagnosis. It has to be accurate, which is the most paramount important thing that what we look for in today’s date. In the field, RT-PCR is a gold standard and FELUDA does not compromise on the accuracy of it so it’s as good as RT-PCR test. That is why we are very confident on this FELUDA test strip,” he said

“FELUDA is a fictitious character from Satyajit Ray’s film this is some sort of a detective and there are competing test. What we develop paper-based test there also been developed some part of the world and one of the groups have given name Sherlock so we thought Sherlock is another fictitious character so we thought FELUDA would actually match that. FELUDA is an Indian name Satyajit Rays very showcase name so we thought we give FELUDA name to this test strip,” he added. (ANI)

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