- Scientists claim that the COVID-19 tests can give the result in 30 minutes
- As per the scientists, the testing device only needs an air conditioner
- Airports, Railway stations are places, this quick testing can be used at
New Delhi: Experts at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in Delhi, have developed a COVID test that will reportedly reduce the testing time to 30 minutes. The scientists claim that the test developed is ‘as accurate as the Gold standard RT-PCR Test’ and cuts down the cost massively.
Talking about the tests being as reliable as the RT-PCR, Dr Shantanu Sengupta, Professor and part of the team that developed this test said,
Currently we have done 63 COVID-19 positive samples and 90 control samples, which means these people didn’t develop any antibodies, so either they didn’t have any disease at least ten days before the test and are currently not infected. We also confirmed these results with RT-PCR tests. Right now, we are scaling up in terms of the testing samples to ensure the reliability further.
Dr Sengupta credited his students and collaborators Dr Promod Kumar, IIT Delhi – Dr Arjun Ray and his colleague in CSIR, Dr Debashish Das, for coming up with a solution to cut down on time.
We went back in the literature to 1970s and 1980s, and rediscovered some forgotten, simple methods of bio-chemistry. We applied some of the techniques here, which helped us cut down the pre-processing time. Usually, it takes 9-24 hours in mass-spectrometry or mass spec technique; which is a very accurate, scientific technique, being used across the world in RT-PCR. We can just do it in 30 minutes using our technique and that is the major advancement.
Dr Sengupta asserts that testing and quarantine is the only way to deal with COVID-19, until we have a vaccine.
Therefore, we need more and more reliable techniques that can complement the RT-PCR testing technique. There is a saturation of RT-PCR also, the reagents are expensive and not very common, so getting those reagents for RT-PCR is also limitation with RT-PCR. In contrast, in our technique, we only need solvents and an enzyme called trypsin, which is very freely available. So, in terms of reagents and other resources, this test is very easy to conduct. So, all these tests together should be started in the country so that most population is covered.
This method also eliminates the need for a bio-safety lab, which makes it possible for it to be used at airports or railway stations, to test passengers before they board a plane. Dr Sengupta explains,
This instrument requires an air-conditioned environment, so the best places for this is diagnostic labs, hospitals as well as airports and railway stations. I believe once it comes in public, these are the places where it will be installed and people would be able to benefit from this the most.
Lastly, Dr Sengupta says that they published the research paper and their findings, and a similar paper using the similar testing technique has also been published from USA and Brazil, but these need to be validated on a larger population. He says that they are awaiting Indian Council of Medical Research approval for their technique before it can be used as a legitimate testing technique in India.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.