Mysore/Mysuru: In what could be a major breakthrough in advanced COVID testing, scientists of University of Mysore (UoM) have come up with a new COVID detection kit with an accuracy rate as high as above 90 percent.
Announcing this at a press meet at Vijnana Bhavan in Manasagangothri here this morning, Prof. K.S. Rangappa, Distinguished Professor and former Vice-Chancellor of UoM, who heads the UoM team, said that the Varsity in association with Hyderabad-based Lorven Biologics Pvt. Ltd., has developed a new rapid COVID-19 detection kit.
“At present the doctors are dependent on RAT and RT-PCR methods for the diagnosis of COVID-19 and soon after the outbreak of the deadly pandemic last year, some big companies developed and released rapid detection kits. The existing rapid detection methods offer only 60-90 percent accuracy. So, we decided to develop a new kit that can overcome the limitations associated with the existing strategies,” he said.
Continuing, Prof. Rangappa said that the RT-PCR test was widely used as a confirmatory test during the outbreak last year. But unfortunately, upto 40 percent of COVID positive patients were diagnosed as COVID-19 negative (false negative) in RT-PCR during the current second wave. Therefore, it is the need of the hour to have a new kit that can detect all mutated variants of COVID-19 rapidly, he said and hoped that the new kit developed by the UoM will also be able to detect the virus in possible subsequent waves too.
Highlighting the salient features of the new kit, Prof. Rangappa said that any person suspected of COVID symptoms can use this kit to test the virus in body fluids including sputum nasal secretions and saliva.
He pointed out that the unique feature of this kit is that a barcode strip will be connected with an app. As soon as the barcode is scanned, the patient’s health status (positive/negative) is updated in the server, which enables the governing agency to monitor COVID positive cases rapidly, he said and added that advanced technologies related to Molecular Biology, Nanotechnology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) were used to develop this kit.
Maintaining that the kit is developed as per the Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ concepts, he said that the new kit will be sent to Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) for emergency approval.
“We are in talks with the manufacturer for keeping the price as low as Rs.100 per kit. The kit can be used in households,” he noted.
He further said that Dr. Venkataramana, Director of Lorven Biologics, Hyderabad, was instrumental in the making of the kit by providing necessary scientific and logistical support.
Referring to the COVID-19 drug being developed, Prof. Rangappa said that the UoM scientists are studying the drug formulation in association with Hyderabad-based Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) and Lucknow based Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI). “We have got good results with the drug formulation so far and we are hopeful of giving a good news soon,” he asserted.
Prof. Rangappa called upon all eligible individuals to get vaccinated for the deadly virus, for their own health, safety and well-being.
UoM Vice-Chancellor Prof. G. Hemantha Kumar, team members Dr. S. Chandra Nayak, Co-ordinator, UoM, Dr. C.D. Mohan, Assistant Professor, Department of Studies in Molecular Biology, UoM and others were present.