The scientists of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) have developed a do-it-yourself 'Saline Gargle RT-PCR Method' for testing COVID-19 samples. The instant, comfortable and patient-friendly testing method will generate the results within three hours.
The simple and fast method of swab collection and processing for the RT-PCR coronavirus test has been approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
The existing swab collection method requires time and since it is an invasive technique, it is a bit uncomfortable for patients, said Krishna Khairnar, senior scientist, Environmental Virology Cell at NEERI. The Nagpur-based NEERI is a constituent laboratory of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Frequently Asked QuestionsView moreShowView moreHow 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.
Dr. Krishna Khairnar, Senior Scientist, and his team at NEERI hopes this patient-friendly method is implemented at national level to strengthen our battle against the #pandemic pic.twitter.com/NTBneOdG4I— #IndiaFightsCorona (@COVIDNewsByMIB) May 28, 2021
The method is non-invasive and so simple that a patient can collect the sample himself, said Khairnar.
Here is all you need to know about this new test and how to do it yourself:
> Collection methods like nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swab collection require technical expertise and they are also time-consuming. In contrast, the Saline Gargle RT-PCR method uses a simple collection tube filled with saline solution.
> To get tested for the novel coronavirus infection, a person needs to gargle the solution and rinse it inside the tube.
> This sample in the collection tube is taken to the laboratory where it is kept at room temperature, in a special buffer solution prepared by NEERI.
> An RNA template is produced when this solution is heated, which is further processed for Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR). This particular method of collecting and processing the sample enables to save on the otherwise costly infrastructural requirement of RNA extraction.
> The test method has received the approval of ICMR. NEERI has further been asked to train other testing labs, to help scale up its adoption across the country.
> The method is environment-friendly as well, since waste generation is minimised, according to Khairnar.
> The scientist expects that this testing technique will be especially beneficial for rural and tribal areas where infrastructure requirements can be a constraint.
> The Nagpur Municipal Corporation has given permission to go ahead with the method, following which testing has begun at NEERI, the CSIR said.
(With inputs from PTI)Follow our full coverage on COVID-19 here.