South Asia
COVID-19: Cheaper, faster test to be reality, thanks to virologist who raced against time to develop India's first test kit

Bangladesh Live News | @banglalivenews | 31 Mar 2020

Photo courtesy: Image Credit:Minal Dakhave Bhosle Facebook Page

Pune: Virologist Minal Dakhave Bhosle brought a ray of hope to the nation, struggling to contain the deadly coronavirus with its meagre screening resources, just a day before delivering a baby girl on March 19.

According to a BBC report, Bhosle who was heading the team that designed the coronavirus testing kit called Patho Detect, submitted it to National Institute of Virology (NIV) "in record time" of six weeks for examination.

With 987 novel coronavirus cases so far, India is likely to jump the 1000 mark soon. The country recorded 25 deaths due to the viral infection while 87 people managed to recover.

Several experts have warned India may see an explosion in COVID-19 cases as it is mostly testing people with coronavirus symtoms and a travel history to foreign countries.

In a bid to develop a kit which offered a cheaper and faster alternative to the otherwise time taking testing method, the scientist began working on the project in February last after being hospitalised due to some pregnancy-related complications, the report said.

"It was an emergency, so I took this on as a challenge. I have to serve my nation," Bhosle was quoted as saying by BBC. Her team of 10 worked extremely hard to finish the work within a record time instead of three or four weeks, it added.

Thousands of people, including industrialist Anand Mahindra and actor Sony Razdan have praised Bhosle's commitment even as she struggled with health issues in advanced stage of pregnancy.


A post shared by Soni Razdan (@sonirazdan) on

Pune-based molecular diagnostic company Mylab Discovery Solutions had announced Monday last that it received commercial approval from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) for its COVID-19 test kit.

After the announcement, Bhosle wrote on her Facebook timeline: Covid-19 diagnostic test kits to be available in markets immediately, says head of R&D at Mylab Discovery Solutions - pune news - Hindustan Times - #I am really proud to be a head at mylab and thus able to contribute to nation!!!#

The kit meets  WHO/CDC guidelines, company officials had said, media reports had said.

The indigenously made Mylab PathoDetect COVID-19 Qualitative PCR kits will cost only one fourth of the kits currently being procured, the company officials had said.

Bhosle and her team achieved a new feat with their COVID-19 test kit as it will detect the infection only in 2.5 hours as compared to the current seven hours.

My Lab has already shipped the first batch of 150 to diagnostic labs in Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, Goa and Bengaluru this last week, said the BBC report.

The company has said it can manufacture up to 100,000 Covid-19 testing kits in a week and can produce up to 200,000 if required, the report added.

As many as 100 samples can be tested with each Mylab kit at a cost of Rs 1,200, it informed.

Till now, India had to spend Rs 4,500 to import Covid-19 testing kits from abroad.

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