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Saline Gargle RT-PCR Method: ICMR approves do-it-yourself COVID-19 test - everything you need to know

To get tested for the novel coronavirus infection, a person needs to gargle the solution and rinse it inside the tube.

May 29, 2021 / 02:20 PM IST
The method is non-invasive and so simple that a patient can collect the sample himself, said Krishna Khairnar, senior scientist, Environmental Virology Cell at NEERI. (Image: Screenshot/@COVIDNewsByMIB)

The method is non-invasive and so simple that a patient can collect the sample himself, said Krishna Khairnar, senior scientist, Environmental Virology Cell at NEERI. (Image: Screenshot/@COVIDNewsByMIB)


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).

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"Sometimes, it is also lost in the transport of the sample to the collection centre. On the other hand, the Saline Gargle RT-PCR method is instant, comfortable and patient-friendly. Sampling is done instantly and results will be generated within three hours," he said.

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)

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first published: May 29, 2021 02:20 pm
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