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Pune startup developing rapid diagnostic kits for fast screening

Quick results: A schematic diagram of the functioning of the proposed CovE-Sens technology.

Quick results: A schematic diagram of the functioning of the proposed CovE-Sens technology.  

With new module, data can be generated in less than an hour; kits can be deployed at public spaces and potential virus hotspots

A Pune-based startup is developing rapid COVID-19 diagnostic kits to facilitate faster screening for potential virus symptoms.

The kits, being developed by FastSense Diagnostics, will help facilitate rapid on-the-spot detection of coronavirus symptoms in the absence of trained technicians and could boost India’s testing efforts in the fight against the contagion, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) said on Wednesday. In a release, the DST said Fastsense Diagnostics has proposed a technology named ‘CovE-Sens’ specifically to combat the new coronavirus, along the lines of their existing universal platform called ‘Omni-Sens’.

The company plans to roll out two products, a modified polymerase chain reaction-based detection kit for confirmatory analysis in less time as compared to existing detection methods, and a portable chip-based module for rapid screening of the target population based on chip sensing technology that would provide results in less than 15 minutes per sample.

The two proposed modules can be deployed at public spaces and potential virus hotspots like airports, densely populated areas and hospitals where screening can be done to prevent spread to healthy individuals, and data can be generated in less than an hour.

“We are still in the prototype development process stage. Our team, comprising experts in the fields of virology, molecular biology and bioinstrumentation, are trying to deliver the prototype within the next eight to 10 weeks. With this rapid diagnostic kit, we are aiming to test approximately 50 samples in an hour,” said Dr. Preeti Nigam Joshi, founding director, Fastsense Diagnostics. The sample size for confirmatory tests could be increased to 100 samples per hour in the future, she said.

Once the prototype is completed, validation would be sought from the Pune-based National Institute of Virology, besides approval from the Indian Council of Medical Research.

The portable rapid diagnostics kit would also prevent future relapse by regular monitoring while the low cost and ease of operation would ensure a wide reach, especially to the rural populace. This would prevent overloading of the strained urban health infrastructure, Dr. Nigam Joshi said.

“The major challenges of testing for COVID-19 are speed, cost, accuracy and accessibility at the point of care or use. Several start-ups have developed rather creative and innovative ways to address these needs. DST is supporting the most promising of these to facilitate their development-to-commercialisation chain if found suitable on technical grounds,” said Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST, in a statement.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 9:41:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/pune-startup-developing-rapid-diagnostic-kits-for-fast-screening/article31304047.ece

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