IIT Kharagpur develops rapid portable COVID-19 test kit at Rs 400

Written By: Pooja Mehta WION
Kolkata Published: Jul 25, 2020, 05:50 PM(IST)

With a special feature of being a portable test kit, the tests can be conducted at any given location acting as an alternative to specialised laboratory equipment. Photograph:( WION )

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While other test kits are limited to a certain number of sample it can test, this portable rapid test kit can continue testing samples after a mere replacement of the paper cartridge post each test. 

At a time when Coronavirus is gripping the entire country, researchers at IIT Kharagpur have developed a portable rapid low-cost test kit to detect Covid-19. This first-of-its-kind device can test each sample at the cost of Rs.400 and the test results can be ascertained within an hour. The results will later be available in a smartphone application. 

With a special feature of being a portable test kit, the tests can be conducted at any given location acting as an alternative to specialised laboratory equipment. 

While other test kits are limited to a certain number of sample it can test, this portable rapid test kit can continue testing samples after a mere replacement of the paper cartridge post each test. 

Prof. Suman Chakraborty from the Mechanical Engineering Department, IIT Kharagpur, and Dr. Arindam Mondal from the School of Bio Science, IIT Kharagpur, came up with the concept of a portable non-invasive rapid detection test for COVID-19. This test kit takes the testing mechanism to a whole new level that comes at an affordable cost and minimal infrastructural support. 

“The greater challenge is complete elimination of the need for any specialized infrastructure and ensuring the possibility of conducting tests at large scale at low cost without compromised accuracy. The RT-PCR based tests suffer from a compelling constraint of requiring an elaborate laboratory-infrastructure and support system including the operational and maintenance cost, to perform the tests,” said Chakraborty.  

According to the researches of IIT Kharagpur who worked on this device, say that the device has been proven to produce no false result with remarkable accuracy and sensitivity compatible to standard RT-PCR tests. 

“The unique portable device developed by the IIT Kharagpur researchers has not only been validated for the diagnostics of COVID-19, but also been designed to be capable of detecting any other kind of RNA virus by following the same generic procedure. The impact of this, therefore, is long lasting, empowered by the capability of detecting unforeseen viral pandemics in the coming years that may potentially endanger human lives time and again,” said Mondal. 

This apart, IIT Kharagpur is ready for commercialization of the product. Any corporate or start-up can approach the Institute for technology licensing and commercial scale of production. The Institute is open to tie-ups, including a mode where the government intervenes with regards to meeting our low-cost healthcare objective for the under-served community as a policy measure to protect the interest of public health amidst the pandemic situation, instead of merely developing a strong profit-oriented model. 

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