- CCMB developed dry swab RNA- extraction-free testing for the COVID-19
- RNA extraction takes four hours for 500 samples: Director, CCMB
- It is a game changing technology as with the existing infrastructure: CCMB
Hyderabad: The Indian Council of Medical Research has approved a dry swab RNA- extraction-free testing method for the COVID-19 virus developed by CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, CCMB said here on Friday. Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is an important macromolecule that is present in all biological cells. In the conventional testing method, nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swab samples collected by sample collection centres are transported to testing centres, sometimes even hundreds of kilometres away.
The samples are generally placed in a liquid called Viral Transport Medium (VTM). To avoid leakage, they are packed heavily that adds on to sample processing times at both the sample collection and testing centres. Despite this, there are leakages from samples, which render those batches untestable and unsafe in handling.
CCMB researchers found that VTM can be totally avoided and dry swab technique also does not require RNA extraction and can be directly used for RT-PCR testing with sensitivity and specificity similar to the current gold standard. This method has now received ICMR approval for use in settings where automated RNA extraction is not available, the city based premier research institute said in a release.
Rakesh Mishra, Director, CCMB said RNA extraction, even with automation, takes four hours for roughly 500 samples. VTM and RNA extraction both add a significant burden on money and time required for mass testing for coronavirus. “We believe the technique’s merit holds for all kinds of settings and has the potential of bringing down the costs and time of testing by 40-50 per cent. It is a game changing technology as with the existing infrastructure, the throughput of COVID-19 screening can be enhanced several fold with immediate effect while, at the same time, making the whole process safer,” Mr. Mishra said.
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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.