COVID-19: IIT Delhi develops low cost probe-free detection assay, gets ICMR nod

Developed by a team of scientists from IIT Delhi, the testing kit is the first-ever probe-free assay for COVID-19 approved by ICMR and will empower healthcare services and support government efforts to deal with the pandemic

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New Delhi: The researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi’s Kusuma School of Biological Sciences (KSBS) have developed a detection assay for COVID-19 which has now been approved by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR). The assay has been validated at ICMR with a sensitivity and specificity of 100% making IIT-Delhi the first academic institute to have obtained ICMR approval for a real-time PCR-based diagnostic assay.

Union Human Resource Development Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ felicitated the team of scientists from IIT Delhi involved in the development of COVID-19 probe – free Real-time PCR Diagnostic Kit. Speaking on the occasion, the HRD Minister said that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited scientists, students and researchers to come forward to combat COVID 19 and in response to this clarion call, all the premier institutions under HRD Ministry came to the forefront and have done a commendable job and are contributing to their best in order to combat the situation arising of COVID-19.

Director, IIT Delhi, Mr Ramgopal Rao informed the Minister that this is the first probe-free assay for COVID-19 approved by ICMR and it will be useful for specific and affordable high throughput testing. “This assay can be easily scaled up as it does not require fluorescent probes. The team is targeting large scale deployment of the kit at affordable prices with suitable industrial partners as soon as possible.”

Secretary, MHRD, Mr Amit Khare; Additional Secretary, MHRD Mr Rakesh Sarwal; and a team of Scientists of IIT Delhi led by Prof. Vivekananad Perumal and Prof. Manoj Menon were present in the meeting. The research team includes Prashant Pradhan (PhD Scholar), Ashutosh Pandey (PhD Scholar), Praveen Tripathi (PhD Scholar), Dr. Akhilesh Mishra, Dr. Parul Gupta, Dr. Sonam Dhamija, Prof. Vivekanandan Perumal, Prof. Manoj B. Menon, Prof. Bishwajit Kundu, Prof. James Gomes of IIT Delhi.

While felicitating the team of scientists, Mr Pokhriyal said that the Ministry of HRD is extremely proud of its all institutions, researchers, academicians, faculty members and students who are working tirelessly in the time of complete lockdown, to bring out solutions to the problems arising out of the outbreak of Covid-19 and which are being faced not only within the country but by the entire humanity.

The Minister appreciated the efforts of IIT Delhi in developing a testing kit at a very low cost for the people of India. The kit will not only empower healthcare services but also support the government in the time of crisis. He assured that the Ministry of HRD will provide all possible to the institutions for their research initiatives. He said that the project like these are in line with the Make in India initiative of the Government.