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IIT-H researchers develop AI-powered Covid testing machine which produces result in 30 minutes

Currently, each test costs around Rs 400. However, the cost can be reduced further to Rs 300 per test through mass production of the testing kit

By: Express Web Desk | Hyderabad |
July 16, 2021 6:38:06 pm
iit-hyderabad 1200COVIHOME, deemed India’s first Rapid Electronic Covid-19 RNA test kit, is developed by a team led by Prof Shiv Govind Singh of the Department of Electrical Engineering at IIT Hyderabad. (File photo)

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Hyderabad developed an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered Covid-19 testing kit that can produce results in 30 minutes for both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.

COVIHOME, deemed India’s first Rapid Electronic Covid-19 RNA test kit, is developed by a team led by Prof Shiv Govind Singh of the Department of Electrical Engineering at IIT Hyderabad. The technology is validated by the Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (ICMR-CCMB) Hyderabad and is now ready for technology transfer.

“The major benefit of this testing kit is that it does not require RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction), an expert human resource and a BSL 2 lab facility for the extraction of RNA, so it has potential for one to take the test at home without expert supervision,” according to a release from IIT Hyderabad.

Following the ICMR protocols, the CSIR-CCMB performed the validation of the rapid RNA electronic diagnostic device for the detection of the SARS-Cov-2 virus in the swab samples independently. The in-house samples and hospital samples were confirmed for their positivity or negativity by the RT-PCR method. The validation report confirmed the kit’s efficiency of 94.2%, sensitivity 91.3%, and specificity 98.2%.

Highlighting the benefits of this testing kit, Singh said a major objective of the research team was to break the transmission chain through affordable testing. “We have already filed a patent for the device and are now looking for industry partners for ToT of technology for mass production,” he said. He was supported by Dr Suryasnata Tripathy, Supraja Patta, Swati Mohanty and other students of the department of electrical engineering.

Prof B S Murty, director, IIT Hyderabad, said the institute has come up with many unique & novel socio-technological initiatives and delivered remarkable results during this pandemic. “Prof Shiv Govind’s COVIHOME is one such admirable milestone. I am confident it will play a significant role in the safe & fast diagnosis of the Covid-19 and minimise its spread.”

Currently, each test costs around Rs 400. However, the cost can be reduced further to Rs 300 per test through mass production of the testing kit. Initial clinical trial and testing of the device was performed at ESIC Medical College and Hospital in Hyderabad, said the release.

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