Scientists at Hyderabad-based CSIR institution develop low cost Covid-19 test

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NEW DELHI: Scientists at Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad - premier institution under Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) - have developed a “new low-cost and low-tech required” test for Covid-19.
This new test is, however, awaiting approval from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Once approved, it can test 20,000-50,000 Covid-19 samples daily, especially in remote areas which lack availability of expert manpower and sophisticated machines.
The new test technique is expected to be available for use from next month.
Flagging an in-house report, the science and technology ministry said that new test - known as reverse transcription nested PCR (RT-nPCR) test - developed by the CCMB research team has shown comparable performance to the standard RT-qPCR test.
“The nested PCR (RT-nPCR) approach does not depend on RT-qPCR. It uses the standard RT-PCR as part of an endpoint assay,” tweeted Union health and science & technology minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday.
“This new test is awaiting approval from ICMR. We might ask ICMR to use this test in those places where there are no RT-qPCR machines,” Rakesh Mishra, director, CCMB, was quoted as saying by the in-house report of the ministry.
The report said, “In the course of comparing the results of both tests, researchers found that the standard RT-qPCR test can have low detection efficiency (less than 50%) in a real testing scenario, which may be due to low viral representation in many samples. This finding brought home the importance of monitoring detection efficiency directly in test environments.”

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