CSIR- Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) said it has tied up with Meril Life Sciences for commercially scaling up its dry swab-based tests for detecting COVID-19.
The premier research institute, in a press release, said the dry swab-based direct RT-PCR for COVID-19 testing has been developed by the CCMB and has been approved by ICMR based on their independent validation.
This method is a simple variation of the existing gold standard RT-PCR method and can easily scale up the testing by 2 to 3-fold with no new investment of resources. Rakesh Mishra, Advisor, CSIR-CCMB, said RNA extraction, even with automation, usually takes four hours for roughly 500 samples. The viral transport medium (VTM) and RNA extraction both add a significant burden on money and time required for mass testing for coronavirus. “We believe this method has the potential of bringing the costs and time of testing by 40-50 per cent in all kinds of settings, Mishra said.
Dr Vinay Nandicoori, Director, CSIR-CCMB, said, In this method, one can simply break open the cells by using a buffer solution and use them for RT-PCR directly. There is no need for separate steps of RNA extraction and purification.” Sanjeev Bhatt, Vice-President – Corporate Strategy, Meril, said, We are the first company to commercially launch the dry swab kit. It is imperative in these times to get a quick RT-PCR result and this method helps in doing so by eliminating the lengthy RNA extraction process.”
Meril is currently equipped to manufacture two crore kits a month. Each kit suffices for 100 tests. Using these kits, each test will cost between Rs 45-60, according to the release.
Founded in 2006, Meril is an India-based, global medical device company that is dedicated to the innovation, design and development of novel, clinically relevant and state-of-the-art devices. Meril manufactures medical solutions in the form of vascular intervention devices, orthopaedic supplements, in-vitro diagnostics, endo-surgery and ENT products. Headquartered in India with a manpower of more than 4000, Meril currently conducts business in more than 100 countries.