BENGALURU: A project to indigenously manufacture — in bulk and at much lower costs — all reagents needed for RT-PCR-based and other molecular methods of diagnostics of Covid-19 has been launched in Bengaluru, with the financial support from the Rockefeller Foundation. The project will be executed by the Bangalore Life Science Cluster (BLiSC).
“This would improve access to Covid-19 diagnostics across the country,” the Centre for Cellular and
(CCAMP), which is anchoring the project, said. It however, did not reveal the value of the Rockefeller Foundation funding.
The project comes at a time India is scaling to test rapidly and widely across its large population. The newly launched project — Indigenisation of Diagnostics (InDx) — anchored at C-CAMP aims to build a robust supply-chain network of Indian MSMEs capable of producing reagents that go into a
as well as manufacture testing kits.
The project involves identifying bottlenecks in the supply-chain network, short-falls in quality levels and gaps in the ability of these MSMEs to scale-up. The project would hand-hold MSMEs in meeting both quality and quantity such that the network would be able to put together a million indigenous kits a day.
“The project employs a dynamic digital supply-chain platform developed pro-bono by
Tata Consultancy Services
(TCS). In addition, the project envisages providing support to maintain a sustainable business plan for the consortium with the help of experts in the field,” C-CAMP said.
Prof K VijayRaghavan, principal scientific advisor to government of India, said the project was a multipurpose project addressing not only the Covid-19 crisis, but aimed at helping MSMEs to expand their business opportunities and to improve the overall healthcare system by developing more high quality, but low cost molecular diagnostics.
“Important collaboration with The Rockefeller Foundation will enable our MSMEs to meet global standards,” he said.
Taslimarif Saiyed, CEO, C-CAMP, who heads the project at BLiSC said the generous support by Rockefeller and enthusiastic response by MSMEs to participate in the proposed supply-chain network has given them confidence to meet the target of 1 million kits per day within the next few months.
Prof Satyajit Mayor, director,
National Center For Biological Sciences
(NCBS) and advisor to the project said: “This may help innovations in our ability to meet global quality and thereby our MSMEs may not only be able to serve the Indian market and be able to export to the other needy countries at very competitive prices. We hope to expand the project to include other new molecular diagnostic methods such as Lateral Flow Assays or LAMP-based assays for COVID19 testing, newly developed saliva-based sampling tests, which are point of care tests and also scalable to test at scale.”
Strengthening India's ability to develop fully indigenous diagnostic kits is expected to improve the entire healthcare system as affordable molecular diagnostics may soon be available for other diseases, particularly cancer and rare tropical diseases, said says Prof LS Shashidhara, dean (research) at
, who is also an advisor to the project.