It will cost Rs 1,400 and will detect virus within an hour
The Gwalior-based DRDO laboratory – Defence Research and Development Establishment (DRDE) – has developed a swine flu diagnostic kit that can detect H1N1 virus within an hour.
The kit to be produced by two companies,a Noida-bases and a Hyderabad-based,is expected to hit the market within three months. The kit was launched recently at the latest edition of Defexpo in Delhi along with an explosive detection kit,developed by city-based laboratory High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL).
Talking to The Indian Express,Dr W Selvamurthy,chief controller,Research & Development (Life Sciences and International Cooperation),DRDO,said,The idea has been to develop a field diagnostic kit to detect H1N1,on the backdrop of bio-warfare. The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) recommended real-time Reverse Transcriptase (RT) Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test system,which is conventional,is time consuming and expensive as against the DRDO kit. While the CDC-approved kit costs about Rs 8,000,the DRDO kit will cost about Rs 1,400. Instead of an eight-hour detection period,the DRDO kit takes just about an hour to detect the virus.
A press release issued by the DRDO said,The kit does not need sophisticated instruments and can be used in villages where electricity is not available. It uses a simple technique called real-time loop amplification methodology (RT LAMP) to detect H1N1 virus. The assay is based on a simple isothermal gene amplification principle using a specially designed primer set that specifically amplify the H1 (hem agglutinin) gene of H1N1 virus only. The result can be monitored by naked eye.
According to Selvamurthy,the kit has also proved to be more effective in detecting the virus as against the CDC approved kit. The ICMR personnel conducted about 1,000 tests on our kit and it was found that 10 per cent of the cases which were missed by the conventional kit were also detected by the DRDO kit, he said.
Besides the forces and the civilian health sector the kit may also find application in some of the neighbouring countries which are likely to be affected by the virus. The detection kit is being manufactured by two Indian companies – Vanatage Integrated Securities Pvt Ltd and Ras Lifesciences Pvt Ltd.