The test kit, called GlobalTM diagnostic and based on Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), has been approved for use in authorised diagnostic labs by the Indian Council of Medical Research.
In RT-PCR, RNA -the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2- is transcribed into complementary DNA by a process called reverse transcription, and then amplified. The PCR reaction is monitored in real time with the help of a fluorescent DNA-binding dye. The degree of fluorescence indicates the severity of the infection.
The test takes about one and a half hours to confirm the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in patient samples, according to Utpal Tatu, Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, IISc, and founder of Equine Biotech.
“Our startup has been working on testing for coronavirus infections for many years, even before the Covid-19 pandemic started. This experience has helped us engineer the kit for COVID-19,” said Tatu.
The pandemic has affected more than 30 million people and caused more than 900,000 deaths worldwide. India currently has the second highest number of reported cases, with more than five million people infected.
Analysts suggest ramping up testing in the country is crucial for tracking and controlling the spread of this infectious disease.