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COVID solutions

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has shortlisted 51 companies for developing various COVID-19 solutions and 10 of them have been supported for manufacturing and large-scale deployment of diagnostic kits and therapy solutions, a statement said on Tuesday. Most of the technologies are under validation from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and can be made functional once the validation and approval processes are completed, it said.

Among the start-ups is OmiX Research and Diagnostics Laboratories. It has extended its OmiX-AMP platform, making it suitable for carrying out low-cost molecular COVID-19 tests rapidly with the help of a technology called Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), with support from the DST. The LAMP tests are run in a colour detection device with an in-built machine learning algorithms that correctly identify samples as positive or negative. It can be deployed in small clinics, points of entry like airports, or small laboratories, the DST said.

The testing kits are currently under validation from the ICMR, it said. The LAMP technique offers a simpler and easier alternative to RT-PCR in molecular testing and allows deployment of the more accurate molecular testing widely.

The single-tube kits come pre-loaded with all the reagents in room temperature stable format. The device and the in-built machine learning algorithm further provide a low-cost detection system (less than Rs 50,000) with automated identification of positive and negative cases, the DST said. A lab on palm platform called ‘anuPath’ by PathShodh Healthcare, incubated in 2015 at the Society for Innovation and Development, Indian Institute of Sciences, Bengaluru, has been repurposed for COVID-19 Rapid Antibody Test.

PathShodh, a one-of-its-kind solution, uses an electronic reader in conjunction with disposable test strips, thus eliminating human errors in interpreting results. “It is a total antibody test (both IgM and IgG) unlike most of the tests which are only IgG tests. It is a quantitative test, as opposed to the qualitative tests in the market, which is very important in assessing the immunity level,” the DST said.

The test results can be linked to the Aadhaar number and the Aarogya Setu app. “They have received the CDSCO (Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation) Test License for manufacturing CODID-19. The test assay has been fully validated on COVID-19 recombinant antibodies spiked in blood samples,” the statement said.

Initial results on actual patient samples have been very encouraging and more tests will be completed in the next few days, it added. Prantae Solutions OPC has developed a test kit with a reader-enabled direct antigen testing in suspected COVID-19 samples, the DST said.

It is based on the technology called Localised Surface Plasmon Resonance Enhancement which enables quantifiable measurement of proteins. The technology is a rapid alternate to RT-PCR and can be deployed at the point-of-care. Chimera Translational Research Fraternity has developed a technology for delivering a standardised therapeutic dosage of plasma for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. It ensures that just the right amount of dose is administered to a patient, the statement said.

The Lyophilised – COVID Antibody Rich Product (L-CARP) provides a safe therapy and avoids transmission of infections by a strategic donor with the help of a screening process, it said. – PTI