COVID-19 | ICMR approves the RT-PCR dry swab-direct approach

COVID-19 | ICMR approves the RT-PCR dry swab-direct approach

The new way of monitoring infection with COVID-19 is to adjust the current RT-PCR gold standard by 2 – 3 fold and without new capital investment.

With an objective to scale up COVID-19 testing in the country, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on November 28 approved dry swab-direct RT-PCR testing process. The CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) has developed the dry swab-direct RT-PCR testing procedure.

The Ministry of Science and Technology in a statement said that “The ICMR has now approved an easy and quick method for the Dry Swab-Direct RT-PCR which was developed for the CSIR constituent laboratory CCMB Hyderabad to increase the scaling of SARS-CoV-2 detection based on its independent validation.” The ministry said the latest COVID-19 testing method is a simple improvement in existing RT-PCR gold standard and can easily scale up the test by 2-3 times without new resource investments.

Covid test kit

Following the evaluation of dry swab-direct RT-PCR testing method and considering its lesser cost and rapid turn-around time, the ICMR has now released an advisory for the use of CSIR-CCMB dry swab method.

What is the RT-PCR approach for the dry-swab direct test?

Dry swab-direct RT-PCR means that the nasal swab is obtained and transported in dry conditions. This enables the transport and storage of samples and is less vulnerable to spillage and contamination spread.

In the recent procedure, the stage of RNA isolation was skipped and the sample is processed simply by means of an ICMR recommended package, and followed by a direct RT-PCR.

The time, cost, and need of extra trained workers have been reduced by the omission of RNA isolation. These features make it simple to scale up COVID-19 testing at least 2 to 3 times immediately.

DG-CSIR Dr. Shekhar C Mande said, “Dry-Swab Direct RT-PCR method is cost-efficient, easy to apply without the need for new kits, and existing manpower can do this without any additional training and can thus contribute significantly to rapid increases in test ability in the country.

“The extraction of VTM and RNA both add up considerable costs and time for mass testing of coronaviruses, even with automation, for approximately 500 samples, and it takes 4 hours,” CCMB Director Dr Rakesh Mishra said These techniques have the potential of covering all kinds of conditions and have an ability to bring cost and time to test by 40 to 50 per cent.

Moreover, several leading institutions and hospitals including the DNA CDFD Centre, IISER-Berhapmur, CSIR-Neeri, GMCH – Nagpur, Genepath, based at Pune, IGGSH and MAFSU and Apollo Hospitals in Hyderabad have independently endorsed CSIR – CCMB’s new process. The CSIR-CCMB is also available independently from several major institutes and hospitals.

COVID-19 | ICMR approves the RT-PCR dry swab-direct approach

Sakshi Sharma
I am a Managing Partner at Bioinformatics India where I write blogs, look after all the partners, and manages the affiliates associated with the website.

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