Tata group to launch India’s first low cost Covid-19 test ‘Feluda’

Tata group to launch India’s first low cost Covid-19 test ‘Feluda’

The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) on Saturday gave approval for the commercial launch of India’s first Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) coronavirus test ‘Feluda’, developed by the Tata Group and CSIR-IGIB (Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology).

“This test uses an indigenously developed, cutting-edge CRISPR technology for detection of the genomic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 virus. CRISPR is a genome-editing technology to diagnosing diseases,” said the release.

As per an official release issued Ministry of Science and Technology, The Tata CRISPR test, powered by CSIR-IGIB, received regulatory approvals from DCGI for commercial launch, as per ICMR guidelines, meeting high-quality benchmarks with 96% sensitivity and 98% specificity for detecting the novel coronavirus.

“The Tata CRISPR test is the world’s first diagnostic test to deploy a specially adapted Cas9 protein to successfully detect the virus causing Covid-19,” it added.

The release further said that the launch marks a significant achievement for the Indian scientific community, moving from research and development to a high-accuracy, scalable and reliable test in less than 100 days.

“The Tata CRISPR test achieves accuracy levels of traditional RT-PCR tests, with quicker turnaround time, less expensive equipment, and better ease of use. Moreover, CRISPR is a futuristic technology that can also be configured for the detection of multiple other pathogens in the future,’ it said.

Commenting on the development, Girish Krishnamurthy, CEO, TATA Medical and Diagnostics Ltd said, “The approval for the Tata CRISPR test for COVID-19 will give a boost to the country’s efforts in fighting the global pandemic.

“The commercialisation of Tata CRISPR test reflects the tremendous R&D talent in the country which can collaborate to transform India’s contributions to the global healthcare and scientific research world,” he said.

Anurag Agrawal, director, CSIR-IGIB, said the work started by CSIR under the sickle cell mission for genome diagnostics and therapeutics led to new knowledge that could be harnessed to quickly develop new diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2.

According to the release, the Group has worked closely with CSIR-IGIB and ICMR to create a high-quality test that will help the nation ramp up Covid-19 testing quickly and economically, with a ‘Made in India’ product that is safe, reliable, affordable, and accessible.

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