Days after the launch of its 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) drug for adjunct therapy for Covid-19, the Defence Research and Development Organisation has developed a new antibody detection-based kit, that can give the result in 75 minutes and will cost Rs 75, according to a statement issued Friday.
The DRDO’s Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS) laboratory has developed the DIPCOVAN kit, which can “detect spike as well as nucleocapsid (S&N) proteins of SARS-CoV-2 virus with a high sensitivity of 97 per cent and specificity of 99 per cent”, the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
It is “intended for qualitative detection of IgG antibodies in human serum or plasma, targeting SARS-CoV-2 related antigens” and offers a “significantly faster turn-around time, as it requires just 75 minutes to conduct the test without any cross reactivity with other diseases,” the ministry stated.
The DIPCOVAN kit has an 18-month shelf life, it added.
It will be commercially launched by DRDO’s industry partner — Delhi-based Vanguard Diagnostics — in the first week of June and the readily available stock at the time of launch will be “100 kits (approx. 10,000 tests) with a production capacity of 500 kits/month after the launch” according to the statement.
The ministry mentioned that it is expected to cost around Rs 75 per test. “The kit will be very useful for understanding Covid‐19 epidemiology and assessing an individual’s previous SARS‐CoV‐2 exposure,” it stated.
According to the statement, the kit was developed “indigenously by the scientists, followed by extensive validation on more than 1,000 patient samples” at various Covid-designated hospitals in Delhi. Three of its batches were “validated during last one year”. It was approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in April, the ministry stated.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare granted regulatory approvals this month to manufacture the kit for sale and distribution.
The announcement comes just days after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had unveiled the first batch of DRDO’s 2-DG drug on May 17. Experts, however, have said that although the 2-DG drug holds promise, more data is required and flagged concerns about its approval.