Concept: IIT Kharagpur has launched its flagship healthcare product, COVIRAP, a standard stepwise isothermal nucleic acid-based testing technology for the quick diagnosis of pathogenic infections including SARS-CoV-2 in individuals. It has secured a commercialization license for Indian in-vitro diagnostic provider Rapid Diagnostic Group and US investment firm Bramerton Holdings.
Nature of Disruption: To conduct a rapid diagnosis of COVID-19, a human swab sample is tested in the novel diagnostic technology, without requiring any separate facility for RNA extraction. For use of the test, the nasal or oral swab samples are diluted in a solution and tested in a portable device by mixing with reagents that come with the kit in a pre-mixed form. Within 45 minutes of receiving the patient sample, the results can be made available. A free smartphone app has been added to the kit to help with unambiguous result interpretation and automated patient distribution. This makes the testing process more efficient for community-level screening. It helps in the early discovery of any emerging infection outbreak, thus, minimizing the spread of the infection. To understand the efficacy of the product, researchers have conducted a field trial for the diagnosis test.
Outlook: When the second wave of COVID-19 in India is threatening to spread even rapidly, the Global market needs a technology that can help in controlling the virus spread. To address this issue, the research team of IIT Kharagpur has launched COVIRAP. IIT Kharagpur has begun the process of adopting this product for on-campus use in order to detect suspected new coronavirus infection. It helps overcome potential bottlenecks such as affordability, poor performance outside a highly controlled laboratory, and lack of simple, yet generic and universal instruments that might be used for home-based testing and community healthcare for a wide variety of infectious and non-infectious diseases.