Researchers at IIT Kharagpur have developed a novel portable rapid diagnostic device to detect Covid-19 infection. The test costs only Rs 400, taking all components of expenses and business model into account. Professor Suman Chakraborty from the Mechanical Engineering Department, IIT Kharagpur, and Dr Arindam Mondal from the School of Bio Science, IIT Kharagpur, came up with the concept of a portable non-invasive rapid detection test. The technology essentially deploys a disposable simple paper-strip for chemical analysis and visualisation of results, read a statement issued on Saturday.
This entire test can be conducted in a low-cost portable enclosure as an alternative to specialised laboratory equipment. The same portable unit can be used for a large number of tests, on mere replacement of the paper cartridge after each test. The device has remarkable accuracy and sensitivity, compatible to standard RT-PCR tests.
The new device has been designed to be usable at locations with extremely poor resources in an uncontrolled environment, catering to the needs of the underserved population. It can be operated by minimally-trained personnel, precluding the needs for skilled technicians. It takes approximately 60 minutes to run each test.
This obviates the need of an expensive PCR machine, by means of a set of innovations such as a portable automated pre-programmable temperature control unit for viral testing, introduction of a special detection unit based on genomic analysis, and a customised smartphone application for dissemination of test results without requiring manual interpretation. While the institute can produce the testing kit up to a certain scale, patent licensing will facilitate commercialisation opportunities for medical technology companies, stated the release.
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