The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has granted emergency use authorisation to Truenat, a real-time PCR platform manufactured by Goa-based Molbio Diagnostics, for testing people infected with Nipah virus. This is the first kit in India to receive regulatory approval to conduct tests for Nipah.
Truenat is an indigenous portable, battery-operated, Internet of Things-enabled RT-PCR platform developed and manufactured in India. It can test nearly 30 diseases, and results take less than an hour. Truenat is already playing a critical role in the management of infectious diseases such as TB, COVID-19, dengue, chikungunya, hepatitis, and HPV in the country.
"COVID-19 has brought out the importance of early and accurate testing for better disease management. Truenat is the first platform to be authorised by the DCGI for Nipah virus testing. We are proud to support our country in fighting Nipah Virus," Molbio Diagnostics Director and CEO Sriram Natarajan said in a statement.
Nipah virus is an emerging zoonotic disease that causes severe disease in humans. Signs and symptoms range from asymptomatic to acute respiratory infection and fatal encephalitis. Last week, it claimed the life of a 12-year-old boy in Kerala. Previously, India has seen several outbreaks: Siliguri in 2001 and Nadia in 2007 (both West Bengal), and Kozhikode and Malappuram in Kerala in 2018. In 2019, a 23-year-old in Kochi tested positive for Nipah but made a full recovery.
Molbio first started R&D work on the Truenat test for Nipah virus in 2018 in collaboration with the National Institute of Virology, Pune.
"The ability to quickly deploy the platform to the point of need and the rapid testing capability makes it a powerful tool in diagnosis and containment of the Nipah Virus. This collaboration with NIV allows us to react quickly in times of need such emergencies," Molbio Diagnostics Director and CTO, Dr Chandrasekhar Nair, said in the statement.
Truenat is also approved by the World Health Organisation for TB diagnosis and approved by the ICMR for TB, COVID-19 and other diseases.