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Current Affairs

IIT-Delhi develops cheap COVID-19 test

Date: 23 March 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology here have developed a method to detect COVID-19 which can significantly reduce the test cost, making it affordable for large sections.

 

Background

The central government had recommended that the maximum charge for a COVID-19 test by private laboratories should not exceed ?4,500.

 

Details

  • The “probe-free detection assay” has been optimised and tested for sensitivity at the research laboratories of IIT. Considering the scale of the ongoing pandemic, development of indigenous kits is the need of the hour.

  • Using comparative sequence analysis, they have identified unique regions in COVID-19. These unique regions are not present in other human coronaviruses providing an opportunity to specifically detect COVID-19.

  • The current testing methods available are “probe-based”, while the one developed by the team is “probe-free”, which reduces the testing cost without compromising on accuracy.

  • Primer sets targeting unique regions in the spike protein of COVID-19 were designed and tested using real time polymerase chain reaction.

  • The primers designed by the group specifically bind to regions conserved in over 200 fully sequenced COVID-19 genomes.

  • In addition, it can also quantitatively assess virus loads.They propose the use of this assay for specific and affordable high throughput screening of COVID 19.