Coronavirus: ICMR approves IIT Delhi's COVID-19 test

Coronavirus: ICMR approves IIT Delhi's COVID-19 test (Source: IIT-Delhi)
Team Careers360 | Apr 23, 2020 - 8:20 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: A "detection assay", or test, for COVID-19 developed at Indian Institute of Technology Delhi has been approved by Indian Council for Medical Research. It will be a probe-free assay.

A statement issued by IIT Delhi on Thursday evening says that the detection assay developed by researchers at its Kusuma School of Biological Sciences (KSBS) "has been validated at ICMR with a sensitivity and specificity of 100 percent".

"This makes IITD the first academic institute to have obtained ICMR approval for a real-time PCR-based [polymerase chain reaction-based] diagnostic assay," adds the statement.

"This is the first probe-free assay for COVID-19 approved by ICMR," it says. " It will be useful for specific and affordable high throughput testing. This assay can be easily scaled up as it does not require fluorescent probes. The team is targeting large scale deployment of the kit at affordable prices with suitable industrial partners as soon as possible."

The IIT Delhi team included three PhD scholars - Prashant Pradhan, Ashutosh Pandey and Praveen Tripathi -- and faculty-members Akhilesh Mishra, Parul Gupta, Sonam Dhamija, Vivekanandan Perumal, Manoj B. Menon, Bishwajit Kundu and James Gomes.

IMG-20200423-WA0003

The statement explains the process of detection thus: "Using comparative sequence analyses, the IIT Delhi team identified unique regions (short stretches of RNA sequences) in the COVID-19 /SARS COV-2 genome. These regions are not present in other human coronaviruses providing an opportunity to specifically detect COVID-19. This method uses primers targeting unique regions of COVID-19 that were designed and tested using real time PCR. These primers specifically bind to regions conserved in over 400 fully sequenced COVID-19 genomes. This highly sensitive assay was developed by extensive optimization using synthetic DNA constructs followed by in vitro generated RNA fragments."

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