ICMR approves low-cost Covid testing method developed by IIT
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A new coronavirus diagnostic method, using a low-cost portable unit developed by researchers at IIT Kharagpur, has been approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) after testing with patient samples showed an accuracy level slightly lower than the gold standard RT-PCR method at a fraction of the cost.

In parallel testing with 200 samples containing a wide range of viral loads, IIT-Kharagpur’s COVIRAP method correctly detected 108 out of the 115 positive samples identified by an RT-PCR machine, and 83 out of 85 negative samples, meaning that it has a 94% sensitivity and 98% specificity in comparison to RT-PCR.

Low-Cost testing:

Unlike the RT-PCR machine, the COVIRAP machine cost the IIT researchers only ?5,000 to make and could be manufactured at even lower cost, said lead researcher and IIT professor Suman Chakraborty.

‘Ideal for use in rural areas’:

“The COVIRAP method requires very little equipment, and is ideal for use in rural areas with limited facilities. The portable unit can even be placed on a table in a field, without the need for an air-conditioned laboratory. It can be operated by rural youth with minimal training,” said Dr. Chakraborty. However, the viral RNA would still have to be extracted in a lab.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/coronavirus-low-cost-testing-method-approved-by-icmr/article32909442.ece
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