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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Indigenous RNA extraction kit set to go into mass production

The kit, developed by Thiruvananthapuram-based Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, will be launched Thursday and Agappe Diagnostics will sell its first batch of 3,000 such kits to Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi.

Written by Esha Roy | New Delhi | Published: May 21, 2020 2:55:08 am
coronavirus, COVID-19, coronavirus testing kits, India news, Indian Express SCTIMST director Dr Asha Kishore said the extraction kits cost Rs 150 — half the price of kits currently in use.

After a go-ahead from the Indian Council of Medical Research and permission from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, the Aggape Chitra Magna, a magnetic nanoparticle-based RNA extraction kit to be used during Covid-19 testing is set for mass production. The kit, developed by Thiruvananthapuram-based Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, will be launched Thursday and Agappe Diagnostics will sell its first batch of 3,000 such kits to Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi.

SCTIMST director Dr Asha Kishore said the extraction kits cost Rs 150 — half the price of kits currently in use.

The Chitra Magna was transferred to Agappe Diagnostics in April and has been validated at the National Institute of Virology for Covid-19 RNA isolation. It isolates RNA from a sample using magnetic nanoparticles. The nanoparticle beads bind to the viral RNA and, when exposed to a magnetic field, give a highly purified and concentrated RNA. As the sensitivity of the detection method is dependent on getting a adequate quantity of viral RNA, this enhances the chances of identifying positive cases.

“Presently there are 6-7 types of imported kits which are being used for extraction, the most popular one being imported from Germany. We have tested ours against the German kit and have found the same level of efficacy at a lower cost,” said Dr Kishore.

“What is significant is that by next month, Aggape will be able to manufacture 80,000 kits which can carry out 1 lakh tests. We will be tying up with another company in the next few days. We feel these two firms will be able to meet the government’s demand of one lakh tests per day by July and then eight lakh tests per day in the subsequent months. We may not have to import extraction kits at all,’’ she said. Inputs from

(ENS Thiruvananthapuram)

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