Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], June 2 (ANI): A simple and fast method of dry swab-based direct RT-PCR has been developed by CSIR's constituent lab Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad.
The method, which has been approved by ICMR based on their independent validation, 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.
"In this method, one can simply break open the cells by using appropriate buffer solution and use them for RT-PCR directly. There is no need for separate steps of RNA extraction and purification," said Dr Vinay Nandicoori, Director, CSIR-CCMB.
Dr Rakesh Mishra, Advisor, CSIR-CCMB said: "RNA extraction, even with automation, takes 4 hours for roughly 500 samples. 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 percent in all kinds of settings."
CSIR-CCMB has tied up with Meril Diagnostics, for commercially scaling up the dry swab-based tests across diagnostic labs in the country. Meril's Extraction-free Dry Swab Kit can be used to isolate the viral RNA from dry swab samples. These isolates can then be directly used for RT-PCR, according to a release by the company.
"We are the first company to commercially launch the dry swab kit. We truly believe the use case for the dry swab collection sample technique is very large. 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. We believe this will help scale testing in India, and help government and private labs in reducing their turn around time. This is the need of the hour", says Sanjeev Bhatt, Vice President - Corporate Strategy, Meril.
Meril is currently equipped to manufacture 2 crore kits a month. Each kit suffices for 100 tests. Using these kits, each test will cost between Rs 45-60, the company said.
The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology or CCMB is an Indian fundamental life science research establishment located in Hyderabad that operates under the aegis of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Founded in 2007, Meril is an Indian-origin, global medical device company that is dedicated to the innovation, design and development of novel, clinically relevant and state-of-the-art devices. (ANI)