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Current Affairs

Feluda test

Date: 21 September 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

An accurate and low-cost paper-based test strip to detect Covid-19 in less than 30 minutes has been approved for commercial launch by the Drugs Controller General of India. 

 

Background

The test has been named ‘Feluda’, a fictional private detective from West Bengal created by renowned writer and filmmaker Satyajit Ray.

 

Details

  • Feluda, the acronym for FNCAS9 Editor Linked Uniform Detection Assay, uses indigenously developed CRISPR gene-editing technology to identify and target the genetic material of SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

  • According to CSIR, the test matches accuracy levels of RT-PCR tests, considered the gold standard in the diagnosis of Covid-19, has a quicker turnaround time and requires less expensive equipment.

  • Moreover, ‘Feluda’ is also the world’s first diagnostic test to deploy a specially adapted Cas9 protein to successfully detect the virus.

  • CRISPR, short form for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, is a gene editing technology and finds its use in correcting genetic defects and treating and preventing the spread of diseases.

  • The CRISPR technology can detect specific sequences of DNA within a gene and uses an enzyme functioning as molecular scissors to snip it. It also allows researchers to easily alter DNA sequences and modify gene function. 

  • The Feluda test is similar to a pregnancy test strip that will just change colour upon detection of the virus and can be used in a simple pathological lab.

  • The Cas9-SARS-CoV2 complex is then put on the paper strip, where using two lines (one control, one test) makes it possible to determine if the test sample was infected with Covid-19.