IIT Kharagpur Researchers develop Novel Technology for Covid-19 Rapid Test

Photo Credit: Arnab Moitra, Graphics: Suman Sutradhar

The researchers at IIT Kharagpur have developed a novel portable rapid diagnostic device to detect COVID-19 infection within an hour. This first-of-its-kind device will enable testing at affordable costs and can be operated by people who have almost no training. The technology essentially deploys a disposable simple paper-strip for chemical analysis and visualization of results.

Highlighting need for such equipment, Prof. Suman Chakraborty, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Kharagpur, said, “In assessing the utility of a specific method of disease detection, there is a common failure to recognize that the cost of the test kit may not turn out to be the most critical factor from the viewpoint of affordable diagnosis, unlike what is being commonly portrayed. Rather, the greater challenge is complete elimination of the need for any specialized infrastructure and ensuring the possibility of conducting tests at large scale at low cost without compromised accuracy. In that light, the RT-PCR based tests suffer from a compelling constraint of requiring an elaborate laboratory-infrastructure and support system including the operational and maintenance cost, to perform the test. The alternative existing approaches to these tests, on the other hand, are either invasive (blood tests) and non-indicative of early stage of development of the infection, or dependent on reagents that are extremely unstable and cannot be implemented in resource-limited settings.”

Further, Dr. Arindam Mondal, Assistant Professor, School of Bio Science, IIT Kharagpur, added, “The unique portable device developed by IIT Kharagpur researchers has not only been validated for the diagnostics of COVID-19, but also been designed to be capable of detecting any other kind of RNA virus by following the same generic procedure. The impact of this, therefore, is long lasting, empowered by the capability of detecting unforeseen viral pandemics in the coming years that may potentially endanger human lives time and again.”

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