The Department of Molecular Medicine & Biotechnology, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow has achieved a major breakthrough to bolster India’s fight against COVID-19.
The institute has developed first-of-its-kind rapid RNA-based testing technique that can detect COVID-19 infection in humans – the fastest test so far.
The test is a single-tube lab test which takes less than 30 minutes of laboratory time and has high specificity and sensitivity. The test does not require sophisticated instrumentation or any expertise for result interpretation, told the research team.
The research team was led by Prof. Swasti Tiwari, who is also the Head of the Molecular Medicine Department, SGPGIMS, Lucknow.
Responding to the development, Prof. Tiwari said, “We have developed an efficient technology that can screen active COVID-19 infection at a much lower-cost. The test does not require the use of any laboratory techniques.”
She further added, “It took about a month and a half to make the technology work for COVID. We have got ethical clearance for human samples.”
The process of testing human samples using this technology is underway. “None of the existing test methods are using such a technology for diagnosis. Our technology is very different and it is very fast. We used synthetic RNA for the virus and it worked very well,” claimed Prof. Tiwari.
The technology can be made available for commercialization through proper channels, and requires ICMR approval for use in public.
This point-of-care test will have a direct impact on mass screening, and will especially benefit the people in screening/holding areas of various service centers such as hospitals and airports.