COVID-19: Hyderabad CCMB set to develop SARS-CoV-2 for in-vitro research in human cells

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Published: May 6, 2020 3:00:10 PM

In another release, the ministry said the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) and Tata Sons have signed a licensing agreement for a paper strip-based test called Feluda for Covid 19's rapid diagnosis.

The ministry said the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) and Tata Sons have signed a licensing agreement for a paper strip-based test called Feluda for Covid 19’s rapid diagnosis.

COVID-19: The Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) based in Hyderabad will attempt to grow SARS-CoV-2 in human cell lines, enabling testing of potential drugs and vaccines against Covid-19 in-vitro (in a test tube), HT reported. Experts were cited as saying this could speed up the development of experimental drugs that were not previously tested on humans.

CCMB will collaborate with cell therapy service, Eyestem Research Private Limited to grow these cell lines, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Science and Technology on Tuesday. To understand the molecular and pathological characteristics of SARS-CoV-2, the research team will use the human lung epithelial cell culture system provided by Eyestem as part of its anti-covid screening (ACS) platform.

Dr. Rakesh Mishra, Director, CCMB has been quoted in the HT report as saying that a technical obstacle that needs to be solved is to grow the virus outside the human host. Eyestem’s cell culture system expresses the ACE2 receptor and other genes which are essential determinants of viral input and replication. He expressed hope that the method will help the CCMB team to predictably grow the virus and thus open the potential for drug screening and vaccine development strategies,

In another release, the ministry said the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) and Tata Sons have signed a licensing agreement for a paper strip-based test called Feluda for Covid 19’s rapid diagnosis.

Dr. Anurag Agrawal, Director-IGIB, said the technology was designed and built at CSIR IGIB and used an indigenously developed cutting-edge CRISPR Cas9 technology to identify the Covid 19 sequence in a sample specifically. A mixture of CRISPR biology and paper-strip chemistry results in a visible signal reading on a paper strip that can be easily tested for the existence of viral infection in a sample. The test takes its name from the fictional detective ‘Feluda’ by Satyajit Ray.

Indian scientists in different departments are moving swiftly to find out alternatives of rt-PCR testing for the Coronavirus infection as it takes too long a time for the result at a very high cost.

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