IIT-D’s coronavirus detection assay gets ICMR approval
Team is looking at largescale deployment of the kit
- IIT Delhi has got the approval from the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) for a probe-free coronavirus detection assay developed by it.
- The assay had been validated at ICMR with a sensitivity and specificity of 100%, making IIT-D the first academic institute to have obtained ICMR approval for a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based diagnostic assay.
- The assay was developed by researchers at IIT Delhi’s Kusuma School of Biological Sciences (KSBS).
- Using comparative sequence analyses, the IIT Delhi team identified unique regions (short stretches of RNA sequences) in the COVID-19/SARS COV-2 genome.
- These regions are not present in other human coronaviruses, providing an opportunity to specifically detect COVID-19.
- The method used primers targeting unique regions of COVID-19 that were designed and tested using real-time PCR.
- These primers specifically bind to regions conserved in over 400 fully sequenced COVID-19 genomes. This highly sensitive assay was developed by extensive optimisation using synthetic DNA constructs followed by in-vitro generated RNA fragments.
The assay would be useful for specific and affordable high throughput testing. This assay can be easily scaled up as it does not require fluorescent probes.