NEW DELHI: A Covid-19 testing kit developed by Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi and costing half the price of a widely used diagnostic tool is set to hit the market this week.
New Delhi-based New Tech Medical Devices will offer the kit under the ‘CoroSure’ brand at about Rs 400 a piece. Another company, Genei Laboratories of Bengaluru, is targeting to start manufacturing it next week.
This is the first kit developed by an Indian institute using the real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) diagnostic assay. IIT-Delhi had received the approval for the kit from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in April, after test results suggested a 100% success rate.
“The technology used in this kit is based on fluorescent dyes, a 20-year-old technology that makes it probe-free and cost-effective,” said Vivekanandan Perumal, a professor at IIT-Delhi’s Kusuma School of Biological Sciences who led the team that developed it.
New Tech said that the company was ready to offer 100,000 kits initially this week and 1 million by the weekend. “We are already in talks with labs and institutes, both government and private, to sell these kits,” CoroSure managing director Jatin Goyal said.
Availability of locally made and cheaper testing kits will help India increase testing, which is key in the effective management of the spread of the pandemic. There are about 1,000 testing labs that report to the ICMR.
“We are also planning to take these kits global at $6 per kit once the export of Covid testing kit is permitted,” said Goyal.
Besides New Tech and Genei, IIT-Delhi has transferred the technology to seven more companies — JITM Skills, Wrig Nanosystems, Medipol Pharmaceutical, Meril Diagnostic, Pontika Aerotech, Bio-Med and TCM.
Genei managing director S Chandrashekaran said his company was in the final stages of getting the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation’s licence to manufacture the probe-free RT-PCR kit. “We are expecting to roll out manufacturing of these kits next week from our cGMP facility in AMTZ, Vizag,” he said.
Genei has a capacity to make more than half a million kits per week that he said could be scaled up.