Scientists developing low cost kit to detect Covid

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 Rohit Shishodia
Scientists from the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB)-Delhi, and Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi, have initiated a study in which they will develop an aptamer-based affordable diagnostic kit to detect Covid. The signficiant aspect of this kit is that it can be preserved in less stringent conditions in rural areas, for storage.

This kit has the advantage of detecting coronavirus infection in very less time as it will be a rapid diagnostic kit for detection, based on the change in colour. Further, the kit will be less costly in comparison to antibody-based detection techniques due to low production cost and requirement of less stringent storage facility. The kit will be able to detect a number of infections in a precise and efficient manner, besides making detection of Covid infection.

The study to develop the kit has been initiated with the aim to detect a target protein using a bioinformatics tool against which the diagnostic kit has to be developed. This study has taken the special domain of spike protein in consideration for the development of the diagnostic kit.

According to the Ministry of Science & Technology, the study, which is carried out by Dr. Abhimanyu Dev, Assistant Professor, and Dr. Venkatesan Jayaprakash, Associate Professor, from BIT, 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 infection.

The general coronavirus infection may be detected on the basis of conserved domain present in all three coronavirus infection (SARS CoV-1, MERS and Covid 19) while the differential kit will be developed on the basis of combination of conserved and non-conserved domain present in the virus.

The kit will be developed at BIT lab while testing of kit will be conducted at Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), Bhubaneswar, under supervision of Dr. Rajeeb Kumar Swain, Scientist E, ILS.


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