Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) and the Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd. on Thursday announced a collaboration for joint manufacturing of an innovative dry swab test–Direct Amplification rapid RT-PCR (DArRT-PCR)–to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that cause novel coronavirus.
The test will focus on scaling up manufacturing and commercialization of the tests jointly. The tests will be available nationally through the Apollo Hospitals network.
Dr Rakesh Mishra, Director, CCMB, said that the DArRT-PCR test allows for rapid, safer and more cost-effective SARS-COV-2 testing. The sample collection centres can send dry nasal or oropharyngeal swabs to testing centres with no need for the imported and expensive Viral Transport Medium.
The sample can be isolated from patient swabs, and tested using a one-step protocol. The current gold-standard method, on the contrary, requires many expensive reagents and steps that add to the expertise, money and time required for the tests. The DArRT-PCR test reduces the time and human effort by 40-50% in the current setting of testing.
“As people are getting back to their normal lives and businesses, it is important for us to ramp up our testing for the coronavirus. The virus will be here for some time, it seems, and those who test more frequently will be able to contain the impact of COVID-19 better. Cheaper, rapid, accurate and easy to use tests as these are the need of the hour. With Apollo and its vast network of hospitals and health services, we expect impacting many lives towards better health,” Dr Mishra said.
Dr Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Group said, “ As India continues to unlock, easy availability of cost-effective, reliable testing for COVID-19 is the key to getting back to normal. Widespread testing will enable quick identification, immediate isolation and early treatment to prevent spread. With nearly half of all COVID-19 infections transmitted by people who are asymptomatic, these easy and quick tests will go a long way in facilitating the identification of infected individuals who may be asymptomatic or presymptomatic. These tests will give a boost to the efforts to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 and will play a major role in controlling the pandemic.”
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