Good news from Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute! Mass production of indigenous RNA extraction kit to commence

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Published: May 22, 2020 1:37:13 PM

The sensitivity of the detection method depends on getting viral RNA in adequate quantity, this leads to enhanced chances of identification of positive COVID-19 cases.

coronavirus, coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus outbreak, coronavirus in india, coronavirus tests, coronavirus testing kits, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, SCTIMST, RNA extraction kit, COVID-19, Make in IndiaThese RNA extraction kits cost Rs 150, which is half the price of the kits being used currently.

COVID-19 pandemic: Good news from Kerala’s iconic Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute! Indigenous RNA extraction kit approved for mass production. The Agappe Chitra Magna, which is a magnetic nanoparticle-based RNA extraction kit designed for testing during the COVID-19 pandemic, is all set to go into mass production. The development comes after the kit was approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), which is the nodal agency fighting the pandemic in India, and its mass production was permitted by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, according to an IE report.

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The kit has been developed by the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) in Thiruvananthapuram and it was launched on Thursday evening. Agappe Diagnostics will sell the first batch, containing as many as 3,000 kits, to Kochi-based Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, the report added.

The report quoted SCTIMST director Dr Asha Kishore as saying that these RNA extraction kits cost Rs 150, which is half the price of the kits being used currently.

The kit was transferred to Agappe Diagnostics in April, the report further stated, and it has been validated for RNA isolation during COVID-19 at the Pune-based National Institute of Virology (NIV). The kit uses magnetic nanoparticles to isolate the RNA from a sample. The beads of the nanoparticle bind themselves to the viral RNA, and upon being exposed to the magnetic field, give out a purified and concentrated RNA, the report explained.

The sensitivity of the detection method depends on getting viral RNA in adequate quantity, this leads to enhanced chances of identification of positive COVID-19 cases.

The report quoted Dr Kishore as saying that at the moment, six to seven types of imported kits are being used to carry out extraction, the most popular one among them being the one made in Germany. She further said that the Indian kit has been tested against the German one, and it was found to be equally as effective while costing less.

She also said, according to the report, that a significant development is that by next month, Agappe would have manufactured 80,000 kits, which could carry out as many as one lakh tests. She added that the institute would be tying up with another company in the coming days, saying that the institute felt that two firms would be able to meet the government’s requirement of one lakh tests every day by July and then subsequently, eight lakh tests a day. She further expressed hope that with the help of this kit, India might not have to import extraction kits at all.

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