With the support of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), researchers are developing an aptamer-based affordable diagnostic kit that will differentiate various types of coronavirus infection, a statement said on Friday.
The Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi, with the support of the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a body under the DST, has initiated a research with the detection of a target protein using bioinformatics tool against which the diagnostic kit has to be developed. This study has taken a special domain of spike protein in consideration for the development of the diagnostic kit. "The researchers are developing an aptamer-based diagnostic kit for detection of SARS-Co-V2 infection. Their study will first ensure the detection of coronavirus infection, while subsequently the kit will also differentiate the various types of coronavirus infection (SARS Co-V1, MERS), including COVID-19 infection," the statement said.
The general coronavirus infection may be detected on the basis of a conserved domain present in all the three coronavirus infection (SARS Co-V1, MERS & COVID 19), while the differential kit will be developed on the basis of a combination of conserved and non-conserved domain present in SARS-CoV2 virus, SARS-CoV2 virus and MERS virus, respectively.
The development of the diagnostic kit will be done at the Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra lab while testing of kit will be conducted at the Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), Bhubaneswar, the statement added. The aptamer-based technology is a relatively new technique. "It can detect a number of infections in a precise and efficient manner. Besides, it makes detection of the COVID-19 infection less costly and the devices can be stored in less stringent conditions, making it more effective over conventional antibody-based detection techniques, especially for the rural and remotely located population," the statement said.
This kit also has the advantage of detecting the coronavirus infection in very less time as it will be a rapid diagnostic kit for detection based on the change in colour, it added. The kit will be less costly in comparison to antibody-based detection techniques due to low production cost and requirement of the less stringent storage facility, the statement noted. PTI PR KJ..