IIT Guwahati develops high-quality, low cost COVID-19 kits

New Delhi (NVI): In order to boost testing capabilities in the most efficient manner, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati has developed several low cost and high-quality COVID-19 diagnostic kits.

The institute has developed Viral Transport Media (VTM) kits, RT-PCR kits and RNA isolation kits. The first lot of VTM kits, used to keep the collected nasal and throat swab samples, has been handed over to Assam government.

These testing kits have been developed at IIT-Guwahati jointly with RR Animal Healthcare Ltd with inputs from Guwahati medical college and hospital (GMCH).

The VTM kits are the first-stop source used to collect nasal and oral swab specimens from an individual source to a laboratory safely for culture and testing. During this period, the virus, if present, in the sample specimens should remain intact until the testing procedure is completed.

“To bring down the cost of kits, we have used materials that are available in the local market and are as per the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation. We have handed over two batches of these kits to the National Health Mission, Assam, and GMCH. We are making them in bulk to make it available to larger population,” said Prof Parameswar Krishnan Iyer, lead researcher, IIT Guwahati.

These kits comprise of a US CDC-recommended and validated transport medium and one each Nasopharyngeal and Oropharyngeal specimen collection swabs. The complete package is suitable for the collection, transport, maintenance, and long-term freezer storage of viral specimens.

The swabs have been designed ergonomically with a pre-molded breakpoint on their shaft for enabling secure sampling. The large-scale production of all these kits has commenced to meet the requirement of Assam and will be made available across the country soon.

“These kits will spur development of affordable and high-quality healthcare products in Assam and provide access to world-class kits and career opportunities to healthcare professionals and students,” Prof Iyer added.