A Noida-based company claims to have developed a “cost-effective” COVID-19 testing kit which, it says, can go a long way in fighting the pandemic. The company has received the approval of the National Institute of Virology and the Indian Council of Medical Research.
That India has been trying to get testing kits from Germany, South Korea, France and Israel besides China may come at a huge cost. However, Dr Nadeem Rahman’s Noida-based lab in UP has come up with much cheaper kits.
While this testing kit “may cost around Rs 500-600”, what sets the product of Dr Nadeem Rahman’s “well-equipped team” of five biochemists, bio-technologists and pharmacists apart are the “advantage of the ease of testing with minimum costs involved”.
Dr Rahman described the product as “a lateral flow technology”. It is a “rapid, anti-body one-step Kovid-19 testing kit” that is equipped to fight the pandemic, he says.
“This is a very simple technology. It’s simple to use, involving no other instrument. The test is conducted within 15 minutes, needing just a drop of blood, compared to the testing kits that take around a couple of hours,” says Dr Rahman, whose Noida-based lab has got all kinds of “supports from the UP government”, right from logistics to licensing.
“The UP government, especially principal secretary Navneet Sehgal, has supported us fully in licensing and compliance,” Dr Rahman said, adding, his team – including Dr Shalini Sharma, director, R&D, Dr Afeefa and Miss Shelu – was now looking forward to rolling out at least 60,000-70,000 kits a day, even as the labour shortage amid the lockdown following the coronavirus is staring the team in the face.
“Finding labour is a big challenge amid the lockdown. We are trying to align different challenges. Still, by next week, minimum 60-70,000 kits, to begin with, are the numbers we are looking at,” he adds.
Responding to a question if India has the capacity to emerge as the global hub for manufacturing testing kits (as suggested by Biocon executive chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw), Dr Rahman said, “Why not? Where there is a will, there is a way out. We need to be focused on.”