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Chitra Gene LAMP-N: Kerala scientists develop low-cost COVID-19 diagnostic test kit

The two main advantages of the new test kit are that it is cheaper and faster to work with. 

Apr 18, 2020 09:52 IST
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A research institute in Kerala has developed a low-cost diagnostic test kit to detect COVID-19 virus called ‘Chitra Gene LAMP-N’. The innovative test kit is cheaper and faster and could be a major breakthrough.

The COVID-19 test kit has been developed by Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

The test kit will detect the N-Gene of the coronavirus using reverse transe loop-mediated amplification of viral nucleic acid or RT-LAMP technique

Significance

The new COVID-19 test kit is one of the first few confirmatory diagnostic tests for N-gene of COVID-19 virus using the RT-LAMP technique in the world.

Chitra Gene LAMP-N: Key Highlights 

The Chitra Gene LAMP-N test is highly specific. It can detect two regions of the gene, which will ensure test success even if one region of the gene undergoes mutation during its current spread. 

The two main advantages of the new test kit is that it is cheaper and faster to work with. 

As per the research institute, the detection time using the kit is only 10 minutes and the sample to result time will be less than two hours.

Further, at least 30 samples can be tested in a single batch in a single machine.

The testing device used to detect COVID-19 at present costs between Rs 15-45 lakh, while the new test kit will only cost about Rs 2.5 lakh.

Besides this, it currently costs about Rs 2500 per test, while the newly developed kit will only cost Rs 1000 per test. 

The research institute has also developed RNA extraction kits along with Gene LAMP-N test kits and the testing device. 

Background

The National Institute of Virology, Alappuzha had found that the new test kit is giving cent per cent accurate result. The test kit now awaits approval from the ICMR.

Once ICMR gives its go-ahead, the new test kit could play a major role in stepping up India’s fight against the COVID-19 virus, by enabling cheaper, faster and accurate detection of positive cases.

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