Madurai Kamaraj University researcher develops kit to diagnose COVID-19 in 12 seconds

The kit, patented in India, uses the same amount of sample as an RT-PCR test

December 26, 2021 07:01 pm | Updated December 27, 2021 10:53 pm IST - CHENNAI:

The kit developed by a researcher at Madurai Kamaraj University.

The kit developed by a researcher at Madurai Kamaraj University.

A researcher in the Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU) has come up with a diagnostic kit to detect COVID-19 infection in 12 seconds. The kit has been patented in India and the researcher has applied for patent at Geneva as well.

T. Arokiyadoss, Assistant Professor and in-charge head of the Department of Physics at the Directorate of Distance Education, developed the diagnostic kit based on lab-on-a-chip technology.

The research team included B. Ashokkumar, Associate Professor, Genetic Engineering Department, and P. Varalakshmi, Assistant Professor in the Molecular Microbiology Department in the School of Biotechnology. The then Vice-Chancellor of the university, M. Krishnan, partly funded the research.

“The RT-PCR kit requires 30 minutes to do the test. Our kit can perform the same in just 12 seconds. The kit directly interacts with the virus. When the virus enters the body, it attaches itself to ACE2 (antigen converting enzyme 2) and multiplies. Out kit takes the mRNA from the virus, amplifies and quantifies the virus,” explained Mr. Arokiyadoss.

The researchers then sought the support of Madurai Medical College officials, including the then Dean J. Shangumani, and the college’s Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratory, Institute of Microbiology, to test the kit. The college formed an ethical clearance board to approve the proposal.

“We took 200 swab samples from COVID-19 infected patients to assess the performance of the kit. We were given 3 ml from the sample while another 3 ml went for the RT-PCR test. The results from both kits were similar,” he said.

Mr. Arokiyadoss filed for a patent for his technology in India as well as in Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), Geneva. The PCT patent is pending approval. He has now signed an agreement with a Hyderabad-based private company that makes molecular diagnostics kits for manufacture and commercialisation of the device.

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