State-Run HLL Lifecare, RGCB Develop Coronavirus Rapid Test Kits Under Rs 400

Two public sector enterprises – HLL Lifecare Limited, a Central Government Enterprise under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Thiruvananthapuram based Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB), a National Institute under Ministry of Science & Technology – have separately developed Rapid Diagnostic Antibody kits for oronavirus detection.

HLL’s ‘Makesure’ kit is a one-step novel coronavirus (COVID 19) IgM/IgG antibody detection from the human serum, plasma or whole blood obtained from the patient with signs and symptoms of respiratory infection. The kit, manufactured at HLL’s rapid diagnostic kit manufacturing facility in Manesar in Haryana has been validated and approved by NIV Pune and ICMR for use in India.

HLL is the first public sector company in India to get approval from ICMR for manufacturing and supplying the Rapid Antibody kit for COVID-19 detection. HLL is planning to manufacture two lakh kits for supplying to various ICMR-approved testing felicities and hospitals within next 10 days and it will be priced between Rs 350-400 per kit, HLL sources told Business Today.

The country is facing acute shortage of diagnostic kits as COVID-19 cases are increasing over 10-12 per cent every day. Mylab, a Pune-based biotech company and Trivitron Healthcare of Chennai have already developed rapid diagnostics kits to fight the disease.

RGCB’s kit, expected to get approval this week, is incubated by a company called Ubio Biotechnologies, located at the RGCB campus in Kochi. Plans are to make about two lakh kits a day and about 60 lakh kits in a month. RGCB plans to price the product at Rs 380, said sources.

HLL sources said the COVID-19 testing results can be delivered within 15-20 minutes. HLL is also planning to develop and manufacture Viral Transport Medium (VTM) kits which is in short supply in the country, as the molecular test volume pick-up will be required in huge quantities. HLL has also started manufacturing hand sanitiser, “Medigard” from its manufacturing facilities in Peroorkkada, Trivandrum and Belgaum, Karnataka factories.

Those who tested positive in the rapid tests have to undertake the Reverse Transcription-Polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, to ascertain the novel coronavirus. While the rapid antibody kits give result within 30-45 minutes, the RT-PCR test results may take about a day.-Business Today

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