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Thursday, June 17, 2021

New Covid-19 testing method by IISc-incubated startup gets regulatory approval

This technique will play a very big role in elucidating seroconversion response to Covid-19 vaccines and thereby play a supporting role in vaccination programmes in the future, said Dr Navakanta Bhat, co-founder of PathShodh Healthcare.

By: Express Web Desk | Bengaluru |
Updated: May 19, 2021 4:57:40 pm
Covid-19The testing technique developed by PathShodh Healthcare, according to IISc, is a first-of-its-kind, semi-quantitative electrochemical ELISA test for Covid-19 IgM and IgG antibodies. (Express file photo)

A novel Covid-19 test developed by a startup incubated by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru is expected to help detect the presence and the response of antibodies acting against Coronavirus, after vaccination as well, its developers said.

The testing technique developed by PathShodh Healthcare, according to IISc, is a first-of-its-kind, semi-quantitative electrochemical ELISA test for Covid-19 IgM and IgG antibodies.

According to its developers, the technology is based on the measurement of electrochemical redox activity of IgM and IgG antibodies specific to the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Glycoprotein (S1).

The S1 protein has a Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) which latches on to the ACE2 receptors on the host cells before infection. Hence, antibody tests targeting the S1 spike protein are more representative of immune response against infection compared to those that target the Nucleocapsid (N) protein.

Explaining this, Dr Navakanta Bhat, co-founder of PathShodh Healthcare said that the capability to quantify the Covid-19 antibody concentration will be crucial in estimating the declining antibody response over time and hence its possible impact on immunity against recurrence of infection. “On a related note, this technique will also play a very big role in elucidating seroconversion response to Covid-19 vaccines, and thereby play a supporting role in vaccination programmes in the future,” Dr Bhat said.

Dr Bhat, also the Dean, Division of Interdisciplinary Sciences and Professor, Centre for Nano Science and Engineering (CeNSE) at IISc, added that the results can be seen on a hand-held reader developed with interfaces of disposable test strips.

This, the team behind the technology believes, would cut out subjective errors due to manual readout of test results, as in the current lateral flow assay test kits. Among other features of this technology are on-board memory to store at least 1 lakh real-time test results, touch screen display, rechargeable battery, Bluetooth connectivity to smartphone and cloud storage, capabilities to map the patient data to Aadhar number, and the possibility of connecting test data through APIs to Aarogya Setu.

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