The University of Mysore, in association with a Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical company, has designed a rapid COVID-19 detection kit.
Announcing this at a press conference here on Monday, former Vice-Chancellor of University of Mysore, KS Rangappa, and Vice-Chancellor G. Hemanth Kumar said the kit has been developed in association with Lorven Biologics Private Limited.
“We are sending the kit to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, for emergency approval,” said Prof. Rangappa, who headed the university’s research team.
The research team consisted of S. Chandra Nayak, Coordinator, and CD Mohan, Assistant Professor, Department of Studies in Molecular Biology, University of Mysore.
“Venkataramana, Director, Lorven Biologics, was instrumental in the development of the kit. He provided scientific and logical support for its design,” said the research team in a press release.
Prof. Rangappa said the kit is expected to be available at an affordable cost since it has been developed by a State university.
The former VC said they were also doing research for developing a drug for COVID-19 in association with the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), Hyderabad, and the Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Lucknow.
“The unique feature of the kit is that a barcode strip is linked to an app. As soon as the barcode is scanned, the health status of the patients (whether tested positive or negative) is updated in the server thereby enabling the governing agencies to monitor the cases immediately. The recent technologies in molecular biology, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence were used in the development of the kit,” the team explained the research process in a press release.
Using the kit, persons with COVID-19 symptoms can detect the infection using body fluids like sputum, nasal secretions and saliva. “It takes less than 10 minutes to detect whether the person is infected or not,” said Dr. Mohan.
In the current wave, infection in some COVID-19 patients could not be detected in the RT-PCR test and their swab samples tested negative (false negative). Therefore, the need was to develop a kit that can detect all mutated variants of the virus, according to the research team.
“We are hoping that the kit will be able to detect the mutated virus in case of subsequent waves,” said Prof. Rangappa.