17:19 GMT23 November 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Coronavirus cases in the country are on a continuous rise and the requirement of test kits has only been increasing. The apex research lab, the Indian Council For Medical Research has been ordering huge numbers of test kits in order to expedite the testing rate so that the virus can be controlled.

    Since a majority of Chinese test kits for COVID-19 turned out to be faulty, the country’s premier engineering college, the Indian Institute of technology Delhi (IIT-D) has developed a new method of diagnosis and also secured the approval of the top research lab, the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) for the aforementioned.

    The IIT-Delhi team has used comparative sequence analyses and identified unique regions (short stretches of RNA sequences) in the COVID-19 /SARS COV-2 genome, which are not present in other human corona viruses. This has paved the way to specifically detect COVID-19.

    “This method uses primers targeting unique regions of COVID-19 that were designed and tested using real time polymerase chain reaction. These primers specifically bind to regions conserved in over 400 fully sequenced COVID-19 genomes. This highly sensitive assay was developed by extensive optimisation using synthetic DNA constructs followed by in vitro generated RNA fragments", the statement by IIT-Delhi said.

    Touted as a cost-effective technique, the method is "probe-free" and reduces the testing cost while at the same time delivering accurate results.

    According to IIT-D, they are eyeing large-scale deployment of the kit at “affordable prices” with suitable industrial partners as soon as possible.

    India had obtained nearly a million COVID-19 test kits form China and issues regarding the accuracy of kits in terms of test results were soon raised by authorities. This sparked fear of a compromised COVID-19 response from the government.

    Therefore, the Indian government has suspended the use of China-supplied rapid test kits and the ICMR has subjected these kits to rigorous quality checks.

    According to the latest figures, there are 23,077 COVID-19 positive cases in India. The country has witnessed 718 deaths so far. On the other hand, 4,749 people have recovered in the country.


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