Convenient and cost-effective tests for COVID-19 are the need for the hour as India races to reopen its schools, colleges and educational institutions. A team of scientists at Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) University’s Multidisciplinary Centre for Advanced Research and Studies (MCRAS) has developed a saliva-based RNA extraction-free detection technology for COVID-19.
The technology is called MI-SEHAT (Mobile Integrated Sensitive Estimation and High-Specificity Testing Application) and can be used in the field with a requirement for at-home testing as a point of care (POC) system for Covid-19 detection.
An RNA extraction free saliva-based detection technology for COVID-19 has been developed by the team of scientists from the Multidisciplinary Centre for Advanced Research and Studies (MCARS) at JMI along with experts from other institutes, it said.
A person may put their saliva sample into the kit and it will show the results within an hour. Researchers are also working to connect it to a mobile application so that if the individual is unable to predict the results on the set, the app would notify him to the results, researchers said. The software is called MI-SEHAT (Mobile Integrated Sensitive Estimation and High-Specificity Testing Application) that can be used in the field with a specification for at-home testing as a point of care (POC) system for COVID-19 detection, the statement said.
Dr. Mohan C Joshi, a team expert, reported that the smartphone-enabled POC prototype was created and validated using synthetic SARS-CoV-2 RNA, showing results within an hour without the technical expert ‘s involvement.
He also claimed, “At a time when the rapid diagnosis of Covid-19 remains the most-effective measure to contain and manage the viral spread, rapid testing of SARS-CoV-2 RNA is crucial. However, the available standalone or integrated PCR-based detection kit remains confined to the sophisticated instrumental diagnostic laboratory setup and takes a minimum of two to three hours in providing the result with the need for error-prone RNA extraction step.”
MI Vice-Chancellor Prof Najma Akhtar said that this technology could be a game-changer in the fight against the global pandemic. “MI-SEHAT is a true example of smart innovation and reflects the true spirit of Atmanirbhar Bharat. Being a user-friendly technology, MI-SEHAT will encourage home testing thus will restrict interaction and movement of Covid-19 positive patients outside the home. Further, it will reduce exposure of our healthcare professionals to Covid-19 positive patients who are directly or indirectly engaged in testing,” Prof Najma Akhtar said.
The country is at world’s second highest and the case load currently stands at 6.7 million, whereas the number of fatalities has exceeded 103,569. In the meantime, figures compiled by the western state of Maharashtra indicate that individuals between the age groups of 31 and 40 are more likely to transmit COVID-19.
After restrictions were relaxed by the government, the rate of infection in this age group further increased. India has checked more than 81 million samples, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research until Oct 5.