Jammu-based CSIR-IIIM has devised a novel, simpler and cost-effective diagnostic kit for rapid testing of large numbers of suspected Coronavirus-infected people and has approached ICMR for its evaluation and approval, IIIM director said on Sunday.
The new Reverse Transcriptase-Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification (RT-LAMP) assay-based COVID-19 diagnostic kit has been developed as an alternative to the standard quantitative PCR (qPCR) after reverse transcription (RT) method, which is very sensitive but requires expensive instrumentation, IIIM Director, Dr D Srinivasa Reddy told PTI.
The new RT-LAMP assay-based kit has been developed by CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine in partnership with the Reliance Industries, "We have developed an RT-LAMP assay-based diagnostic kit. Our lab and Reliance Industries Limited have together developed this kit," he said. He said the novel kit has been submitted to ICMR and is presently under evaluation with it.
Giving further details, Dr Reddy said that the RT-LAMP assay does not require sophisticated and expensive equipment like a real-time PCR machine, required for RT-PCR test kits. "It does not need a PCR machine. So it will be a cheaper and faster kit (for testing). They will have to approve it. We are awaiting approval to go to market," he said.
Explaining the significance of the novel RT-LAMP assay-based diagnostic kit, an IIIM official said that amid the existing wave of infection, large-scale diagnostic methods are needed to determine the spread of the virus in populations quickly, comprehensively and sensitively for the rapid isolation of infected persons. Additionally, continuous and repeated testings of large groups within a population may also be required as a long-term strategy to contain new outbreaks while keeping societies and economies functional until effective vaccines become available, he added.
In the given circumstances, the novel RT-LAMP assay-based diagnostic kit may prove to be an indispensable asset in the fight against the COVID-19, he said, adding the RT-LAMP test is rapid, accurate and cost-effective that can be done with indigenous components and set up with minimal expertise and instrumentation. Although the cost of the kit is yet to be decided, it will be much cheaper than the existing RT-PCR machines' cost, he said.