INDIA’S NEW PAPER COVID-19 TEST COULD BE A ‘GAME CHANGER’
A team of scientists in India has developed an inexpensive paper-based test for coronavirus that could give fast results similar to a pregnancy test.
The test, named after a famous Indian fictional detective, is based on a gene-editing technology called Crispr.
Scientists estimate that the kit – called Feluda – would return results in under an hour and cost 500 rupees (about $6.75; £5.25).
Feluda will be made by a leading Indian conglomerate, Tata, and could be the world’s first paper-based Covid-19 test available in the market.
“This is a simple, precise, reliable, scalable and frugal test,” Professor K Vijay Raghavan, principal scientific adviser to the Indian government said.
Researchers at the Delhi-based CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), where Feluda was developed, as well as private labs, tried out the test on samples from about 2,000 patients, including ones who had already tested positive for the coronavirus.
They found that the new test had 96% sensitivity and 98% specificity.
The accuracy of a test is based on these two proportions. A test that’s highly sensitive will detect almost everyone who has the disease; and a test that has high-specificity will correctly rule out almost everyone who doesn’t have the disease.