By Health In Five Writer
Famous filmmaker Satyajit Ray created the fictional detective Feluda on the lines of another iconic character Sherlock Holmes. Now to defeat the menace of coronavirus, Tata Sons have come up with a CRISPR test to detect the Covid-19 virus effectively and early.
The commercial launch of ‘Feluda’, the Tata CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) COVID-19 test, has been approved by the Drugs Controller General of India. This test uses an indigenously developed, cutting-edge CRISPR technology for detection of the genomic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to the CSIR.
Feluda is an acronym for FNCAS9 Editor-Limited Uniform Detection Assay, an indigenous COVID-19 testing mechanism that was created at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s constituent lab, the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) in New Delhi. It is expected to address the urgent need for accurate mass testing because of its affordability, relative ease of use and non-dependency on expensive qPCR (quantitative polymerase chain reaction) machines.
What is CRISPR?
The Tata Group was given nod for the launch of India`s first Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic (CRISPR) Covid-19 test for commercial launch. Anurag Agrawal, the 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 a new diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2. He emphasised that this shows the interconnectedness of scientific knowledge and technology and the innovation of the young research team led by Debojyoti Chakraborty and Souvik Maiti.
CRISPR is a genome-editing technology to diagnose diseases. The technology has been developed by CSIR-IGIB (Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology).
“The Tata CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) test, powered by CSIR-IGIB (Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology) Feluda, received regulatory approvals today from DCGI for commercial launch, as per ICMR guidelines, meeting high-quality benchmarks with 96 per cent sensitivity and 98 per cent specificity for detecting novel coronavirus,” a statement said.
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 said. The Tata CRISPR test achieves accuracy levels of traditional RT-PCR tests with quicker turnaround time, less expensive equipment and better ease of use.
The test is powered by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research`s Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) Feluda, which is an acronym for the FNCAS9 Editor-Limited Uniform Detection Assay. A team of young scientists, have developed this 45 minutes cost-effective paper-based kit for COVID-19 test, said CSIR Director-General Dr Shekhar Mande.
“Feluda test kit only takes 45 minutes compared to the COVID test whereas an RT-PCR takes long hours and this COVID-19 testing kit is cheaper than RT-PCR based test kit. So in terms of time cost and accuracy Feluda test kit is best. Another advantage is that it does not require any heavy equipment like RT-PCR,” said Dr Mande was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
“They were able to very quickly repurpose the thing for COVID and they have developed a paper-based Diagnostic kit which is called now Feluda and that kit yesterday got approval from the Drug Controller of General India (DCGI) who is the regulatory authority for this and the kit is being commercialized by Tata sons. Tata sons who have approach DCGI for approval and yesterday receive the formal approval,” he said.
Dr Mande added, “Feluda test kit is very cost-effective because many things it doesn`t require costly equipment, unlike RT-PCR. It does not require any chemical which is costly. It is very cost-effective and in terms of time, it is very quick. It can literally in 45 minutes finish the test,” he said.