ICMR certifies diagnostic unit, calls it user-friendly
A COVID-19 detection device developed by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur has been validated by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
COVIRAP is a low-cost portable device that uses a reliable and accurate molecular diagnostic procedure. The cost per test is Rs 500. The test results are rendered via a custom-made mobile application and requires no manual interpretation. The test results can be obtained within an hour of sample submission for testing.
Various commercial units have already approached IIT Kharagpur for technology licensing to enable rapid reach.
The device has gone through rigorous testing by an authorised ICMR laboratory before it was granted certification. ICMR-NICED has certified the test to be extremely user-friendly.
“While overseeing the testing and validation, I was very impressed with the portable low-cost machine. It can truly be a game-changer for COVID-19 diagnostics at peripheral laboratories with unskilled human resources. This now needs a rapid commercial scale-up to cater to the needs of the people. ICMR-NICED will be pleased to facilitate support for further improvisations in the method towards even superior performance,” Dr. Shanta Dutta, the director of ICMR-NICED, said.
The number of tests per one-hour batch in a single machine can be increased to for testing on a mass scale.
Lauding IIT Kharagpur researchers for their contribution, Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said: “I am glad researchers from IIT Kharagpur have achieved the goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat through this medical technology innovation. This would go on impacting the lives of many in rural India as the device is portable and can be operated with very low-energy supply. Minimally trained rural youth can operate this device.”
Pokhriyal said this innovation has made high-quality and accurate COVID testing affordable for the common people.
We are glad to inform you that the novel testing technology for #COVID19 developed by Prof. Suman Chakraborty, Dr. Arindam Mondal and their team at @IITKgp has been recently certified by @ICMRDELHI.— IIT Kharagpur #StaySafe (@IITKgp) October 21, 2020
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Speaking about the possible commercialisation of the device, Prof. V.K. Tewari, director, IIT Kharagpur, said, “This is indeed a great contribution to medical science, particularly virology, and is well set to replace PCR-based tests to a large extent. While the Institute can produce the testing kit up to a certain scale, patent licensing will facilitate commercialisation opportunities for medical technology companies. The Institute is open to tie-ups, with due measures of protecting the interest of public health amidst the pandemic situation.”
Elaborating on the validation process of COVIRAP Diagnostic Test, Dr. Mamta Chawla Sarkar, the virologist who oversaw the patient trials on behalf of ICMR- NICED, said, “Through this test very early stages of infection can be detected, thereby isolating the patient and arresting the uncontrolled spread of infection in the community via asymptomatic patients.”
The project received financial support from the institute in late April as director Tewari decided to establish a dedicated fund to support COVID-19-related research and product development. Financial support also came from IIT Foundation, US, to meet the various expenses in the clinical testing phase. Partial financial support has also been provided from the Common Research and Technology Development Hub on Affordable Healthcare, established by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Government of India, at IIT Kharagpur.
The novel diagnostic platform, was developed by a team of researchers lead by Prof. Suman Chakraborty, professor, mechanical engineering, IIT Kharagpur, and Dr. Arindam Mondal, assistant professor, School of Bio-Science, IIT Kharagpur.
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