Home-based COVID-19 testing kits could soon be a reality with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi and the National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) Pune working on an alternative testing method which can not only be performed by individuals at home but will also deliver quick results.
The collaborative project with the NCL, which comes under the aegis of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has also received financial support from Microsoft India and is expected to be ready in a month's time. According to the team, the project aims to develop an ELISA (Enzyme Linked Immunoassay) based diagnostic serological assay against COVID-19. If successful, it will create an economical, commercial process for manufacturing the antigens used in ELISA and home-based diagnostic kits to offer an effective, quick, robust and affordable diagnostic solution to manage the COVID-19 outbreak.
"Testing continues to be a challenge in managing COVID-19 and is likely to remain so for the years to come. Currently, Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests detect genetic material to perform coronavirus testing. However, such tests can be performed in laboratories only, require several hours, have low rates of specificity and sensitivity and pose risks related to specimen collection and sample handling," Anurag S Rathore, Professor, IIT's Dept of Chemical Engineering, told PTI.