A Chennai-based pharmaceutical company Trivitron has developed what may be the first indigenous COVID-19 test kit, and has sought approval from central institutes for the same.
Only the National Institute of Virology (NIV) and 60 other government authorised centers across the country are allowed to test for Coronavirus at this point, which is a limitation if India wants to check the spread of the outbreak before it reaches the dreaded 'Stage 3' wherein entire communities are threatened and it becomes inconsequential where they contracted the pathogen from.
These institutes are also importing the COVID-19 diagnosis kits from European countries like Germany and Switzerland, which costs Rs 6,000 to Rs 8,000 per test. The regular test requires atleast 6 hours of time and any of 5 fluids from the patient's body may be taken as sample.
India is been testing only 90 samples a day according to reports, which is not going to be sufficient in the event that the number of cases balloons out of control in the coming fortnight which is going to be crucial.
"We would like to bring Coronavirus testing to a cost of less than thousand rupees for each patient. In this timeframe, we can't be talking about profits. Even WHO says 'test test and test'. That should happen for the next few weeks. The time has come for the Indian medical companies to take up the role to fight this pandemic for next few months time," said doctor GSK Velu, the Chairman and Managing Director of the Neuberg Diagnostic Center and Trivitron healthcare.
However, the group is already working with a government agency called CSIR- Institute of Genomics and Integrated Biology and has also have sought approval from other institutes like the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Indian Institute of Virology (IIV).
"We are already working with government agencies. We have to make some trials from next week and get some approvals, we hope we will be in the market by two to three weeks and tests can happen in large-scale," said Doctor Velu.