Nepal | October 30, 2020

India’s inexpensive paper-based testing to provide breakthrough in COVID-19 testing

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KATHMANDU: A team of Indian scientists have come up with a paper-based test that could detect the COVID-19 causing pathogens within an hour, according to a BBC report.

It is believed that the kit, still in development, would cost around NRs 800 (INR 500) and could deliver results within just an hour of testing, more or less similar to that of a pregnancy test.

Interestingly, the testing kit — Feluda, has been named after fictional Bengali private investigator and is based on a gene editing technology called Crispr.

The testing will be made by the Indian business giant Tata, which could very well be first of its kind.
The testing technique has been tried on about 2,000 patients, including those who have already contracted the disease.

The results were promising as the testing had 96% sensitivity and 98% specificity, concluding that it will detect almost everyone who have the infection, meanwhile ruling out almost everyone free from the novel contraction.

India’s drug regulator has cleared the test for commercial use.

Sample collection for Feluda testing will be similar to that of the current PCR testing i.e. nasal swab inserted a few inches into the nose.

Feluda, the Crispr technology — short for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats– latches on to a set of letters of a gene carrying the signature of the coronavirus, distinguishes it, which can be read out on a piece of paper.

Two blue lines indicate a positive result while a single blue line means the test is negative.

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