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COVID-19 | CSIR-Tata MD tie-up to ramp up testing in rural India

As of now, 13 CSIR labs are engaged in RT-PCR testing and the partnership aims to expand the capacity to 37 laboratories.

June 18, 2021 / 04:06 PM IST
The first CSIR lab to go live is the CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) in Dehradun, and institute Director Dr Anjan Ray was happy the current capacity of 800 tests/day can be significantly scaled up if demand rises. (Image Source: PIB)

The first CSIR lab to go live is the CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) in Dehradun, and institute Director Dr Anjan Ray was happy the current capacity of 800 tests/day can be significantly scaled up if demand rises. (Image Source: PIB)

The Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Tata Medical and Diagnostics (Tata MD) have partnered to ramp up COVID-19 testing in Tier II and III towns and rural areas.

The ministry of science and technology on June 18 said India’s top scientific research organisation and Tata Group’s healthcare business were developing the capacity to manage any future surge in COVID-19 testing requirements.

To be jointly developed, the RT-PCR CRISPR tests will use Tata MD’s CHECK SARS-CoV-2 test kits, which are powered by CSIR-IGIB’s FELUDA technology and Tata MD’s CHECK Automated testing solution.

Follow our LIVE blog on the COVID-19 pandemic here

As of now, 13 CSIR labs are engaged in RT-PCR testing for COVID-19 and the new partnership aims to expand the capacity over the next few months to 37 laboratories.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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CSIR Director-General Dr Shekhar C Mande said that rapid testing and isolation of SARS-CoV-2 positive patients had “emerged as the best strategy in combating COVID-19” along with vaccines, and called this an “important step to augment national capacity to test and detect COVID locally”.

Tata MD will also deploy a proprietary three-room design mobile testing lab that can conduct end-to-end, on-site COVID-19 testing.

Tata Medical and Diagnostics CEO and MD Girish Krishnamurthy said he was confident that the deployment of the fully equipped mobile labs would allow for quick augmentation of testing capacity.

“This will significantly enhance the ability of state and district administrations to ensure wider availability and easier access to testing on an on-going basis,” he said.

The first CSIR lab to go live is the CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) in Dehradun and institute's director Dr Anjan Ray was happy the current capacity of 800 tests/day can be significantly scaled up if demand rises.

Tata MD CHECK SARS-CoV-2 test is a paper strip based RT-PCR CRISPR test approved by the Indian Centre for Medical Research (ICMR) and requires standard laboratory equipment like thermocyclers. Tata MD CHECK Automated testing solution can be deployed in existing NABL II approved molecular labs and Tata MD mobile testing labs.

For full coverage on the coronavirus pandemic click here
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jun 18, 2021 04:06 pm

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