The Jawaharlal Nehru University’s (JNU) is developing a low-cost, portable and battery-operated device to test coronavirus, the varsity said in a statement. According to JNU, the device can complete testing in 50 minutes while it takes 120-180 minutes through the conventional method.
It has designed a chip-based spatial reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) where PCR has been integrated with an in-built detection system containing LED and diode detector, the university stated.
“The detection of the infection of coronavirus is being majorly done by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCT) by using real-time PCR machine, a very accurate lab test for detection, tracking and study the coronavirus. But this technology is expensive, requires high-end laboratory-based equipment and is time-consuming,” the vice-chancellor said in a tweet.
The advantage of JNU’s approach, claims the VC, is the small size of the machine, less time taken for testing, less cost, a portable device and simple training of personnel handling the device.
As per the JNU, the technology will cost Rs 60,000 to Rs 1 lakh as compared to conventional real-time PCR which comes at Rs 10-15 lakh. The device is being developed by a team led by Jaydeep Bhattacharya from the School of Biotechnology at JNU. The prototype of the device can be expected within four months, informed the vice-chancellor in a tweet.
The Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a PSU under the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India has allotted the project to the varsity.