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TATA Sons signs MoU to bring ‘Feluda Corona Test kit’ by end May for mass testing

16 May, 2020 21:59:54
TATA Sons signs MoU to bring ‘Feluda Corona Test kit’ by end May for mass testing

Tata Sons has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for the ‘licensing of knowhow’ of a paper test kit for Covid-19, which could make mass testing for the novel coronavirus possible. The kit, developed by CSIR’s constituent lab Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) by Bengali scientists, Dr Souvik Maiti and Dr Debojyoti Chakraborty was named after their favourite detective ‘Feluda.’

‘Feluda kit’ is an accurate and low-cost strip test that can detect Covid-19 within one hour. The test uses CRISPR gene-editing technology to identify and target the genetic material of Covid-19. “The CRISPR-based Feluda testing works by combining CRISPR biology and paper strip chemistry. Briefly, Cas9 protein, a component of the CRISPR system, is barcoded to interact specifically with the Sars-CoV2 sequence in the patient’s genetic material. The complex of Cas9 with Sars-CoV2 is then applied to a paper strip, where using two lines (one control, one test) make it possible to determine if the test sample was infected with Covid-19,” Dr Chakraborty said in a recent interview. The entire diagnostic process takes about one hour, starting from RNA to giving a visual readout on the strip.

Dr Souvik Maiti and Dr Debojyoti Chakraborty

Even the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday granted emergency-use approval for the world’s first CRISPR-based test for Covid-19. Unlike the test developed by CSIR-IGIB, the one developed in the US can only be done in hi-tech laboratories. Its developers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, the Ragon Institute and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the US are working on a simplified version which they hope will get approved for point-of-care use.

ICMR mentioned that the Feluda kit has a very accurate and accepted testing method and the advantage is that it can be used in any lab that has the technology. Lab technicians, however, may not be trained to use the technology, but it is easy to train them. With training, there can be widespread deployment of this kit across India.

Interestingly, ‘Feluda kit’ will not just be limited to Covid-19 but can work on detecting any DNA-RNA or their mutations. At the end of January, it was adapted for Covid-19. The Feluda strip looks similar to pregnancy test strips. This strip will just change colour and can be used in a simple pathological lab. The most important part is it will be 100 per cent accurate and can detect Corona virus in just minutes. The strip uses cutting-edge gene-editing CRISPR-CAS-9 technology to target and identify genomic sequence of the novel coronavirus in suspected individuals. No other laboratory in India is developing test kit using this technology.

Story Tag:
  • Corona Virus

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