As the number of COVID-19 cases have crossed 13 lakh with over 30,000 fatalities, researchers at IIT Kharagpur have developed a low-cost portable rapid diagnostic device to detect the coronavirus infection, Indian Express reported. They claim that each test will cost less than ₹400, taking all components of expenses and business model into account.
According to the researchers the same portable unit can also be used to conduct a large number of tests by just replacing the paper cartridge after each test. “The device has been proven to produce no false result with remarkable accuracy and sensitivity compatible to standard RT-PCR tests,” said a report in the institute’s The KGP Chronicle website.
Professors Suman Chakraborty from the Mechanical Engineering Department and Dr. Arindam Mondal from the School of Bio Science had come up with the concept of a portable non-invasive rapid detection test that deploys a disposable simple paper-strip for chemical analysis and visualization of results, the report added.
The viral genomic RNA can be detected using the device, which is claimed to be an alternative to highly expensive RT-PCR machine. While the device can be used at locations with extremely poor resources and in an uncontrolled environment, even minimally trained personnel can operate it, the report said.
“The unique portable device… 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,” Dr. Mondal said.