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The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has approved a simple and fast method for COVID-19 testing which not only increases the number of Reverse Transcription -Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests but also bring down costs, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) said on Saturday.
The new method that is developed by CSIR's Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, which is, Dry Swab-Direct RT-PCR, is a variation of the existing RT-PCR method. It could easily scale up the testing with no new investment of resources, reported The New Indian Express.
"After evaluating this method and finding an overall concordance of 96.9 per cent, ICMR has now issued an advisory for the use of CSIR-CCMB dry swab method, considering its lesser cost and quick turn-around time," the CSIR said.
The CCMB that has been working closely with healthcare workers of Telangana, has identified some of the key issues that slow the testing process. In order to solve this problem, the researchers developed the Dry Swab RNA-extraction free testing method. This method involves collecting and transporting the nasal swab in a dry state which makes the transportation and handling of the samples easy and less prone to spillage and spread of infection. This method is different when compared to using the viral transport medium.
Secondly, the step of RNA isolation from the sample is omitted and now it involves only simple processing of the sample followed by direct RT-PCR using the kit recommended by the ICMR. This has been considered to be one of the major advantages as per ICMR.
CSIR director-general Shekhar Mande said the Dry-Swab Direct RT-PCR method is cost-effective, easy to implement with no requirement of new kits and existing manpower can perform this with no additional training and hence could make a significant contribution to ramping up the testing capacity in the country quickly.
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