Kerala-made Covid testing kit awaits approval two weeks on
Experts have underlined that the approval should be speeded up as India needs to ramp up testing to effectively deal with the pandemic when the Centre has asked states to return the rapid test kits sourced from China.Updated: Apr 29, 2020 02:18 IST
A Covid-19 testing kit developed at Thiruvananthapuram’s Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCIMST) has been awaiting approval for two weeks from regulatory bodies, scientists involved in the development said on Tuesday.
Experts have underlined that the approval should be speeded up as India needs to ramp up testing to effectively deal with the pandemic when the Centre has asked states to return the rapid test kits sourced from China. The Centre’s move came on Monday days after the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) evaluated the Chinese kits after huge variations in their results were reported.
The scientists said the kit is less expensive and more accurate than the polymerase chain reaction testing kits. They said the kit is called ‘Chitra Gene LAMP N’. Scientists called it “highly confirmatory” for the Covid-19 diagnosis and added the kit detects the N-Gene of the SARS CoV 2, which causes the disease. “Sree Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, an institute of national importance, of India@DST, has developed a diagnostic kit that can confirm #Covid 19 in two hours at a low cost,” Union health minister Harsh Vardhan tweeted on April 18.
Experts have underlined that regulatory agencies across the world have eased processes and that the ICMR should follow suit. “Mere lockdown would not do any good. We have to speed up tests during these days,” said former Christian Medical College (Vellore) principal Dr Jayaprakash Muliyil.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who represents Thiruvananthapuram in Parliament, has criticised regulatory bodies for delaying the approval for the kit developed at SCIMST. “Many imported Chinese kits are found to be faulty... rather than clinging on to technicalities... the ICMR should give permission to indigenously developed kits,” he said in a Facebook post.