IIT Delhi's low-cost COVID-19 testing kit will be produced by a Bengaluru-based biotechnology firm and is expected to be available by the first week of June, according to officials.
The large scale assembly and manufacturing of the kits by Genei Laboratories will be carried out at a facility exclusively set up for COVID-19 testing kits at the Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone (AMTZ) in Visakhapatnam.
"Genei Laboratories is one of the companies which has received the non exclusive license from IIT Delhi for the Probe free RT-PCR based COVID-19 low cost test kit," Indian Institute of Technology Delhi Director V Ramgopal Rao said.
IIT Delhi, which has become the first academic institute to develop a COVID-19 testing method, is planning to give non-exclusive open licence to companies for commercialising the test, but with a price rider. While the institute has kept a price rider of Rs 500 per kit, Genei Laboratories has not announced the price yet.
"We are delighted to enter into a partnership with IIT Delhi for further development and commercialization of this unique detection assay for COVID-19," Genei Laboratories Managing Director S Chandrashekaran said.
"Using their unique technology and our expertise in reagent and kit-making, we will ensure an accurate, affordable, Make-in-India kit for the diagnosis of Sars-CoV2," Chandrashekaran said.
"Further, Genei Laboratories expects to manufacture the most affordable real time PCR testing Kits for COVID19 in India," he said. "The final kit will have two variants and is expected to be rolled out of AMTZ campus by June 1st week of 2020."
The company is among the 40 companies to have reached out to the institute after it got an approval from the Indian Council of Medical Research for the test based on a real-time PCR-based diagnostic assay.
According to the team, the current testing methods available are "probe-based", while the one developed by IIT Delhi is a "probe-free" method, which reduces the testing cost without compromising on accuracy.
Using comparative sequence analyses, the IIT Delhi team identified unique regions (short stretches of RNA sequences) in the COVID-19 and SARS COV-2 genome.
The death toll due to the COVID-19 pandemic rose to 2,293 and the number of cases climbed to 70,756 in the country on Tuesday, registering an increase of 87 fatalities and 3,604 cases in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry said