Scared of nasal/throat swabs? CSIR-NEERI’s saline gargle sampling can revolutionise RT-PCR Covid testing in India

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Updated: May 20, 2021 6:43 PM

Coronavirus in India latest news: Developed by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, the new testing technique will completely remove the need for taking the nasal and throat swabs for Covid detection.

Scared of nasal/throat swabs? CSIR-NEERI's saline gargle sampling can revolutionise RT-PCR Covid testing in IndiaA man gives swab sample for COVID-19 test at RML hospital in Lucknow. (PTI Photo)

At a time when experts across India are trying to find ways to chalk up a robust plan to battle the inevitable third wave of the novel coronavirus, a newly approved technique can transform the way people are tested for the novel coronavirus. The process, which has been greenlighted by the ICMR has not been introduced for the general public yet. Developed by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, the new testing technique will completely remove the need for taking the nasal and throat swabs for Covid detection. Here’s what you need to know about the saline gargle sampling:

1: The sterile saline gargle technique has been developed by the CSIR-NEERI. The ICMR has given nod for the gargle sampling method. The latest testing process uses gargle samples, which are used for detecting the person for the Covid-19 infection. There is no need for collecting an individual’s nasal or throat swabs. Unlike the RT-PCR testing tool kits, there is no need to transport the samples in a specific medium.

2: The technique is completely non-invasive and doesn’t require any special training. Can be used at home for collecting samples. Another key part is that, unlike the usual RT-PCR, this technique can give results at a faster rate. Minimises waste and is very economical. With no need for RNA extraction, simple room temperature incubation can be done.

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3: The process of collecting the sample in this technique is very simple. A tube filled with sterile saline is handed over to the individual. She/he needs to take the saline and gargle for just 15-20 seconds. Rinse the liquid and put it back in the tube. The sample is then taken to the lab and incubated. After heating it, a good sample is ready for the RT-PCR test.

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4: The best part about this technique is that it can give the RT-PCR result for the Covid test, which is far more reliable than the antigen process.

5: If introduced across India, it would help in the easier, economical collection of samples. Experts world over have said that extensive testing is the only way of detecting the virus before it explodes into another cluster. This can definitely change the way India tests coronavirus and help in minimising the viral spread.

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