The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur has tied up with industry partners in India and USA to commercialize its machine which can detect COVID-19 without the intervention of experts. The product called COVIRAP – can diagnose several infectious including COVID-19, tuberculosis among others. The product is developed by researchers including professor Suman Chakraborty, Dr. Arindam Mondal, and their research group.
IIT Kharagpur claims to be using the device on-campus to detect possible novel coronavirus infection. Using this machine, one diagnose COVID-19 using human swab samples and putting them inside the device without requiring any separate facility for RNA extraction. The results can be made available within 45 minutes of obtaining the patient sample. The kit also has a free smartphone app. The results will be sent directly on the app after 45 minutes, claims the IIT.
As per the IIT, the testing device does not need medically trained staff and can be performed anywhere. It also gives ‘accurate’ results in 45 minutes, digitally. Thus is critical for community testing, especially in low-income countries.
Bramerton Holdings – a US-based company – has signed a deal for securing global rights for commercially disseminating the COVIRAP. They are expected to sell the product in US, USK, and Kenya.
“For use of the test, the nasal, as well as oral swab samples, are diluted in a solution and tested in the portable device by mixing with reagents that are supplied in a pre-mixed form. The test runs automatically in the device without intermediate manual intervention,” the IIT informed. “Nucleic acid-based point-of-care tests such as COVIRAP usher great promises as viable alternatives for rapid testing of pathogenic infections at low cost in resource-limited settings,: it added.
"The above move has taken place at a critical juncture when the recent spurt in COVID-19 infection, commonly known as the second wave, has been threatening to spread more rapidly than ever before. Moreover, the commercialization of COVIRAP will initiate complete indigenization and availability of a large range of affordable healthcare products in the Indian market as well as deep trenches of a large global market that is literally starving for the need of such technology. COVIRAP promises its reach to the grass-root level in catering to the needs of the last person of the society," opined Director Prof. V K Tewari.
Patents centered around this innovation have been filed in the India, USA, several other countries, in the name of IIT Kharagpur. The foreign filing license has been granted recently. Commercialization and use in the USA and Europe under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) process are currently underway. Both the Rapid Diagnostic Group in India and Bramerton Holdings in the USA, in association with IIT Kharagpur, have already identified the key resources towards establishing the reagent supply chain, kit and device manufacturing in entirety under a 'Make in India' initiative with complete import substitution. In addition to licensing COVIRAP to these companies, the inventors at IIT Kharagpur will receive further support via industrial consultancy project mode for further advancement of the product.