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Mysore University develops Covid-19 self-testing kit that ‘can detect virus in 10 minutes’

The university claims that the kit is expected to be available at an affordable cost of Rs 100 since it has been developed by a state-run university.

Scientists of the University of Mysore (UoM) have developed a new Covid-19 self-testing kit with an accuracy rate as high as above 90 per cent.

The varsity, along with the Hyderabad-based Lorven Biologics Pvt. Ltd., has developed a Covid-19 detection kit which is now being sent to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, for emergency approval.

The university claims that the kit is expected to be available at an affordable cost of Rs 100 since it has been developed by a state-run university, said Prof. Rangappa, who is the former Vice-Chancellor of UoM and also headed the university’s research team.

Speaking to Indianexpress.com, Rangappa said “As of now, we have two methods of testing to detect Covid-19 — the Rapid-antigen tests and the rapid detection kits developed and released by a few companies. But the existing rapid detection methods offer only 60-90 per cent accuracy. Hence, we decided to develop a new kit that can overcome the limitations associated with the existing strategies.”

The test kit also has a barcode strip linked to an app that will update the health status of the person. “This kit has a unique feature where a barcode strip is linked to an app. As soon as the barcode is scanned, the health status of the patient, whether he/she has tested positive or negative, will be updated on the server thereby, enabling the governing agencies to monitor the cases immediately. The recent technologies in molecular biology, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence were used in the development of the kit,” Rangappa explained.

The kit gives the result within 10 minutes. “With this kit, persons with Covid-19 symptoms can detect the infection using body fluids like sputum, nasal secretions and saliva. It takes less than 10 minutes to detect whether the person is infected or not,” he added.

The university is also in talks with the manufacturer to keep the price as low as Rs 100 per kit making it affordable for the public. The kit can be used in households, Rangappa noted.

Apart from this, the university also claims that this particular kit can detect many new variants that other test methods have failed to.

Rangappa said: “In the existing rapid testing method, the result accuracy is 60 to 90 per cent, while the RT-PCR method is more accurate than the rapid test method. However, unfortunately, during the second wave, up to 40 per cent of Covid-19 positive patients were diagnosed as Covid negative in RT-PCR and this could be due to manipulation in the genome of the virus. Therefore, we designed this new rapid detection kit which can detect many types of Covid-19 viral variants.”

Recently, the ICMR had approved a Covid-19 self-test kit, ‘CoviSelf’, developed by Biotech firm, Mylab Discovery Solutions. It is the first test kit for Covid-19 that can be self-administered at home in India.

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