India has been criticised for not testing enough. It has one of the lowest rates in the world, with just 6.8 tests per million.
Initially, India insisted on testing only those who had travelled to high-risk countries or had come in contact with an infected person or health workers treating coronavirus patients. It later said that anyone admitted to hospital with severe respiratory distress should also be tested.
the first made-in-India coronavirus testing kits reached the market, raising hopes of an increase in screening of patients with flu symptoms to confirm or rule out the Covid-19 infection.
Mylab Discovery, in the western city of Pune, became the first Indian firm to get full approval to make and sell testing kits. It shipped the first batch of 150 to diagnostic labs in Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, Goa and Bengaluru (Bangalore) this week.
“Our kit gives the diagnosis in two and a half hours while the imported testing kits take six-seven hours,” says virologist Minal Dakhave Bhosale, Mylab’s research and development chief.
Ms Bhosale, who headed the team that designed the coronavirus testing kit called Patho Detect, said it was done “in record time” – six weeks instead of three or four months.
And the scientist was battling with her own deadline too. Last week she gave birth to a baby girl – and only began work on the programme in February, just days after leaving hospital with a pregnancy complication.
Another team of researchers at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) have developed a new testing method for COVID-19. The team has already patented the method.
According to reports, a group of women scientists at the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Institute of Science, Banaras Hindu University, have developed a novel test method-based on RT PCR (Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction) for COVID-19 with 100 percent accuracy.
Geeta Rai, the doctor who leads the research team comprising Doli Das, Khushbu Priya and Hiral Thacker, said: “Through this low-cost method, the results would be available within a few hours. We have got this method patented and approached the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) and Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) for further guidance and support in the matter so that it can be taken to the masses.”
According to her, this RT PCR (qualitative)-based detection method for coronavirus guarantees accuracy, low cost, rapid detection and no requirement for a probe or high cost machines.