Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' e-launched the World’s most affordable RT-PCR based COVID-19 diagnostic kit developed by IIT Delhi and approved by the ICMR and DCGI in New Delhi today. MoS for HRD Shri Sanjay Dhotre was also present on the occasion. Secretary, Higher Education, Shri Amit Khare and senior officials of the Ministry were present during the launch.
Speaking on the occasion, Pokhriyal said that Corosure, COVID-19 Diagnostic Kit developed by Indian Institute of Technology Delhi is a step towards Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi's vision of a self-reliant India. He said that the country requires cheap and reliable testing for the country which can help to control the pandemic. The Corosure Kit has been developed indigenously and is much cheaper than other kits. The HRD Minister said that our Prime Minister has always been encouraging the youth of the country to come forward and ensure a healthier India especially in the times of COVID 19 pandemic with their innovative research. The kit has received ICMR approval with the highest score and DCGI approved with very high sensitivity and specificity.
Union HRD Minister lauded the work done by the IIT Delhi researchers and congratulated everyone involved in the development and manufacturing of the kit. The Minister appreciated Prof. Vivekanandan Perumal and his research team of IIT Delhi for developing of COVID 19 diagnostic kit. The team includes Prashant Pradhan (PhD Scholar), Ashutosh Pandey (PhD Scholar), Praveen Tripathi (PhD Scholar), Dr Akhilesh Mishra, Dr Parul Gupta, Dr Sonam Dhamija, Prof. Manoj B. Menon, Prof. Bishwajit Kundu and Prof. James Gomes.
He said that this affordable detection kit will help the country amid the ongoing crisis. Pokhriyal informed that Corosure, the probe-free diagnostic kit has been manufactured by Delhi NCR-based Newtech Medical Devices. The Minister appreciated that a leading educational institution under MHRD and a private company have joined hands during this epidemic in the interest of the nation. Shri Pokhriyal informed that the diagnostic kit developed by IIT Delhi, which will be now available for use by the authorised testing labs with this launch, will significantly bring down the cost of COVID-19 RT-PCR testing. The base price of the RT-PCR assay is Rs 399. Even after adding the RNA isolation and laboratory charges, the cost per test will be considerably cheaper compared to currently available kits in the market. The Minister further informed that IIT Delhi has given license to 10 companies to manufacture COVID-19 diagnostic kit using the technology developed by its researchers.
While addressing the participants, Shri Dhotre said that amid the coronavirus crisis, when widespread testing is most needed, this very low-cost diagnostic kit is a great feat that the IIT Delhi has achieved in such a short period. He added that Innovation and entrepreneurship are complementary to each other, and are also most crucial for an Atmanirbhar Bharat. IITs have very robustly nurtured these two. Even in schools across the country, the climate for innovation and new technology is being created very actively.
Dhotre further said that IIT Delhi's 40-year old Centre for Rural Development and Technology has been playing a crucial role in the application of new technology in the uplift of rural life so that benefit of technology could reach the last man. He added that country's youth have a lot of passion and potential for innovation and entrepreneurship. They only need to be provided right climate, resources and motivation. IITs have done a great job in this sphere.
Speaking on the occasion Khare informed that IIT Delhi became the first academic institution to obtain the ICMR’s approval for a real-time PCR-based diagnostic assay. It was also the first probe-free as say for COVID-19 approved by the ICMR. He added that the assay was validated at the government’s medical research body with a sensitivity and specificity of 100%. Shri Khare appreciated the efforts of IIT Delhi towards the betterment of society and wished them success in their endeavours.
Prof V. Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi said that IIT Delhi is thankful to the support it has received from the Indian government, HRD ministry, Health Ministry and the ICMR for the development and manufacturing of the affordable kit. Our researchers will continue to focus on COVID-19 related research and development to help the country as well as the World in the fight against Coronavirus.