SCTIMST develops TB diagnostic kit

Published - April 08, 2024 08:47 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

A diagnostic kit developed by the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), which can detect pulmonary tuberculosis at an early stage, was unveiled on Monday.

The AG Chitra TB diagnostic kit, developed by SCTIMST and licenced to M/S Agappe Diagnostics, Kochi, was unveiled virtually by V.K. Saraswat, president of SCTIMST and member, NITI Aayog.

Abhay Karandikar, secretary, Department of Science and Technology; Sanjay Behari, director, SCTIMST; Harikrishna Varma, head, BMT wing; and Thomas John, managing director, Agappe Diagnostics participated in the launch event.

An official release issued by SCTIMST said that the AG Chitra TB diagnostic kit had been approved by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) for manufacturing and marketing.

A communicable disease which causes the highest number of deaths globally, TB incidence has recorded a 3.6% increase since 2020, possibly because of the delays in diagnosis during the Covid pandemic.

Though the nation is on the path to TB elimination, the lack of an accurate, fast and affordable population-level screening tool to identify pulmonary TB easily, has always been a challenge.

The newly developed AG Chitra TB diagnostic kit has an accuracy of 97.71%. The technology has been developed as an open platform, avoiding the need for proprietary machines to amplify DNA. The PCR testing centres established during the COVID-19 pandemic can now be repurposed for TB diagnosis using this kit. The sample-to-result time is around one hour, SCTIMST said in its official release.

The technology was developed by Anoop Thekkuveettil and his team at the Division of Molecular Medicine, BMT wing, SCTIMST.

This low-cost, indigenously developed diagnostic kit could revolutionise the early detection of tuberculosis, the researchers hoped.

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