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Tata Sons, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute partner for production of COVID-19 test kits

A view of Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, in Thiruvananthapuram.

A view of Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, in Thiruvananthapuram.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu Archives

They will be based on RT-LAMP technology which can produce results in significantly less time

The Tata Sons, holding company of the Tata Group, has entered into an agreement with the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Thiruvananthapuram, for commercial production of COVID-19 testing kits.

The SCTIMST is an Institute of National Importance under the Department of Sciences and Technology (DST), Government of India.

The kits will be based on RT-LAMP (Reverse Transcriptase Loop-Mediated Amplification) technology which can produce results in significantly less time thereby increasing the throughput of labs in India, a statement issued by the Tata Sons said.

The tests are expected to get approval shortly and production will commence thereafter.

The tie-up follows the Tata Sons’ partnership with the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology to produce CRISPR-based test kits.

These two partnerships will significantly boost the Tata Sons efforts to cater to the growing demand for testing, the statement added.

“The RT-LAMP is a futuristic technology that can be adapted for point-of-care setting. The ‘Chitra Gene LAMP-N’ test uses an isothermal setup to create copies of viral DNA for detection, which significantly reduces the complexity of overall process compared to the prevalent Real Time PCR technology,” the statement said.

The test also uses proprietary magnetic nanoparticle-based RNA extraction, which gives highly purified and concentrated level of RNA from the swab sample, it said.

Banmali Agrawala, President, Infrastructure and Defence & Aerospace, Tata Sons said, “The Tata Group is committed to play its part in fighting the global epidemic. Testing is a crucial part of this fight against COVID-19 as early detection and treatment arrests the spread of the infection.

“With more and more tests being conducted, the demand for testing kits is growing. Our association with Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute is a significant step in our efforts to encourage indigenous production of second generation testing kits which enhances speed of testing and ease of handling.”

“The mass production of RT-Lamp-based COVID-19 testing kits with the active support of the Tata Group will be a significant milestone for the Institute. I would like to commend the efforts of the research & development team of the Institute and the Tata Group in building this partnership at this critical time to serve the needs of the nation,” said Dr. V.K. Saraswat, Member NITI Aayog and President, SCTIMST.

“Development of a novel, inexpensive, faster, confirmatory test for the diagnosis of COVID-19 by Sree Chitra in a record time is a compelling example of how a creative team of scientists, clinicians and industry working together seamlessly can leverage knowledge and infrastructure to make relevant breakthroughs” said Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 7:39:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tata-sons-sree-chitra-tirunal-institute-partner-for-production-of-covid-19-test-kits/article31716313.ece

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