New Delhi: As India continues to battle a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, a laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an antibody detection-based kit named ‘DIPCOVAN’ that can detect coronavirus spike as well as the nucleocapsid (S&N) proteins of SARS-CoV-2 virus with a high sensitivity of 97 per cent and specificity of 99 per cent.
The kit, approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in April, has been developed indigenously by scientists of the Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS) in association with Vanguard Diagnostic Diagnostics Pvt Ltd, a development and manufacturing diagnostics company based in New Delhi.
The Defence Ministry, in a press release, stated that the DIPCOVAN kit was developed indigenously by the scientists, followed by extended validation on more than 1,000 patient samples at various COVID selected hospitals in Delhi.
“Three batches of the product were validated during last one year. The antibody detection kit is approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in April 2021,” it added.
As reported by the Ministry of Defence, in May 2021, the product got regulatory approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, to produce for sale and distribution.
What does the kit do?
DIPCOVAN is designed for the qualitative discovery of IgG antibodies in human serum or plasma, targeting SARS-CoV-2 related antigens. It offers a significantly faster turn-around time as it requires just 75 minutes to manage the test without any cross-reactivity with other diseases.
18 months is the shelf life of this kit.
Production and price of the kit
The product will be commercially launched during the first week of June 2021 and around 100 kits, with 100 tests each, will be readily available in the market after the launch. The market price of the product is estimated to be approximately Rs 75 per test.
According to the Defence Ministry, the kit will be very useful for understanding COVID?19 epidemiology and assessing an individual’s previous SARS?CoV?2 exposure.
Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister, has praised the efforts of DRDO and the industry in developing the kit at the time of need. In the meantime, Secretary Department of Defence R&D & Chairman DRDO Dr G Satheesh Reddy honoured the teams concerned in developing the kit and said the initiative will help the people during the pandemic.