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IIT Kharagpur's 'COVIRAP' gets ICMR certification

'COVIRAP,' the diagnostic machine developed by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur researchers, has been successfully validated for its efficacy in Covid-19 detection by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the Institute said on Wednesday.

After rigorous testing with patient samples by an authorized ICMR laboratory, adhering to their strict guidelines, ICMR has now granted certification for this Covid-19 Diagnostic Test.

This test has been designed to be fairly easy to conduct and affordable as well and can produce results within one hour.

"This is indeed one of the greatest contributions in the history of medical science, particularly in the area of virology, and is well set to replace the PCR-based tests to a large extent," Professor V.K. Tewari, Director, IIT Kharagpur, said in a statement.

This new testing method implements a highly reliable and accurate molecular diagnostic procedure that can be conducted in an ultra-low-cost portable device unit developed by the research team.

The test results are rendered via a custom-made mobile application for dissemination without requiring manual interpretation.

"This innovation has made high-quality and accurate Covid testing affordable for the common people with a testing cost of around Rs 500 which can further be reduced through government intervention," said Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Union Education Minister.

"This machine can be developed at a cost of less than Rs 10,000 with minimal infrastructural requirement making the technology affordable to common people. The testing process in this new machine is completed within one hour," Nishank added.

While the Institute can produce the testing kit up to a certain scale, patent licensing will facilitate commercialisation opportunities for medical technology companies.

Dr. Mamta Chawla Sarkar, an Internationally acclaimed virologist who oversaw the patient trials on behalf of ICMR-National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) said: "A detailed scrutiny of the testing results has clearly shown that this assay holds the capability of detecting extremely low levels of viral loads than any other method based on similar principles of testing."

The novel diagnostic test has been subjected to rigorous testing protocols as per the ICMR guidelines, at ICMR-NICED, an Institute authorised by ICMR. ICMR-NICED has further certified the test to be extremely user-friendly..