Jawaharlal Nehru University to Develop Diagnostic Kit for Coronavirus (COVID – 19)

Jawaharlal Nehru University

M. Jagdish Kumar, The VC of Jawaharlal Nehru University on Monday told Press Trust of India(PTI) that varsity has bagged a project on COVID-19 research from BIRAC, a public sector enterprise set up by the Department of Biotechnology.

The Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) gave permission to JNU to develop a low-cost portable microfluidic embedded on chip RT-PCR and micro electrode array coupled point-of care optoelectronic device for large-scale screening of emerging viral disease like SARS-CoV-2, the VC said.

At present, the detection of the Corona virus is being done by Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) by using a real-time PCR machine. It’s very accurate for detecting Corona virus. But this technology is expensive, requires high-end laboratory-based equipment and is time-consuming. Expert personnel are also needed to operate the instrument and perform the testing in the laboratory. Thus, the capacity of sample handling per day is limited, he said.

He said that to overcome these drawbacks, A team led by Dr Jayadeep Bhattacharya from the School of Biotechnology, JNU, has designed a chip-based low-cost portable spatial RT-PCR.

Our technology is expected to cost Rs 60,000-1 lakh as compared to 10-15 lakh required for conventional real-time PCR, JNU VC said.

The JNU has already filed an Indian Patent application on this technology. Our technology can complete the testing in about 50 minutes as compared to 120-180 minutes required for conventional real-time PCR, he added.

He also said that the prototype testing device will be available very soon for demonstration.

The team working on the device consists of scientists from JNU (Dr. Jaydeep Bhattacharya, Dr. Rupesh Chaturvedi and Dr. Ravi Tandon), Amity University, Gurgaon (Dr. Ranjita Ghosh Moulick), Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, Kolkata (Dr. Souvik Pal and Dr. Subrata Sarkar) and Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi (Dr. Sameer Gulati), he said.

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