ICMR Approves IIT Kharagpurs Low-Cost Portable Testing Device For COVID-19

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ICMR Approves IIT Kharagpur's Low-Cost Portable Testing Device For COVID-19

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The low-cost portable unit named 'Covirap' has gotten the approval of ICMR after the testing done on patients showed accuracy slightly lower than the standard RT-PCR test

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Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur have developed a portable tabletop machine that can diagnose the novel coronavirus disease test within an hour.

The low-cost portable unit named 'Covirap' has gotten the approval of the medical body of India, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and the device showed accuracy just a slight difference than the standard RT-PCR test, with the sensitivity level of 94% and specificity of 98%. To ensure the efficacy, 200 patient samples were tested using both RT-PCR and Covirap.

The researchers are now in talks with manufacturers to market the product. The device uses one human gene as control and two genes from Sars-Cov-2 to detect the infection, reported The Hindustan Times.

The portable machines will make almost accurate diagnosis cheap, fast and accessible. In terms of the cost, each test will be around ₹500 to ₹600. At the laboratory setting, it cost the team ₹5,000 to manufacture the machine.

Mechanical Engineering professor in the department, Dr Suman Chakraborty told the media that there is no need for a temperature-controlled laboratory for the device. "The master mix of reagents is available in test tubes that have to be mixed with the RNA sample collected from the patient and run in the machine. After the processing is complete, a simple paper strip dip test has to be done. To ensure accuracy in reading the test, even without trained professionals, the strips have to be put in a small cartridge, and a mobile-based system reads it to give results. Multiple tests can be run in a single cycle," Chakraborty informed.

Speaking to the media, Dr Arindam Mondal, part of the research team, said that the device would be of great help to people living in rural areas. Mondal suggested that rural youths can be given the training to operate the machine.

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