PUNE: A soon-to-be-introduced and visually interpreted rapid Covid test – developed by the
Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Virology and transferred to Chennai
and Delhi-based companies for production – could cut down the cost and the turnaround time
by almost 40%, ICMR-NIV officials said.
The test would be made available within two weeks at the airports in India and other places.
The companies have been asked to scale up production amid Omicron concerns.
The molecular-based technology used in this rapid test kit neither requires expensive
machines like RTPCT, high-speed centrifuges nor a skilled workforce to conduct the test.
“The test, RT-LAMP, has 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity. It takes only 30-40 minutes
to churn out the result, which can be visually interpreted. Also, the test can be very easily
deployed at the airports, docks, railway stations and other entry points for the screening of
patients for Covid as it doesn’t require sophisticated machinery and skilled workforce,” said
an ICMR official.
The RT-LAMP kit is validated by the National Institute of Biologicals, Noida. “It will be
cheaper than rapid RTPCR,” an ICMR official said. As against the current rapid PCR test
which costs Rs 3,900 and takes an hour, the ICMR-NIV-developed test kit is likely to be
costing not more than Rs 3,000.