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Pune firm cleared to make coronavirus kits for India

Pune-based molecular diagnostics company Mylab Discovery Solutions Pvt Ltd, which specialises in molecular diagnostic kits, has developed the first made in India test kits for COVID-19 in six weeks. The kit is the first one to receive commercial approval from India's Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) and is called 'Mylab PathoDetect COVID-19 Qualitative PCR kit'.

At present, India has the lowest testing rates for COVID-19, with limited testing facilities and expensive testing kits were the biggest concern for health officials. The search for indigenous test kits got a leg up when the Pune company's kit became the first of the nine kits tested by Indian authorities to get approval.

Dr Renu Swarup, Union Secretary, Biotechnology, spoke to The Indian Express and expressed delight at the development. "This is a great source of happiness for us and as the MD has said they can produce one lakh kits a week, which is very good news."

Currently India is testing 6.8 persons per million of the population. The WHO chief made no bones of the importance of testing when he spoke of "test, test, test" being the key to being able to beat back COVID-19. The pandemic has shown an upswing in all countries and it is important to know more about the nature of the spread to flatten the curve of its impact. India officially maintains that there is no community spread.

So far the Indian government has been relying on testing kits from Germany to diagnose coronavirus patients. However, the supply of foreign kits has been causing problems and grounded airlines could add to the concerns. This can change with the approval for made in India kits. The testing kit by Mylab would cost nearly "one fourth of the current procurement cost". Company sources say the Mylab kit screens and detects the infection within "2.5 hours, compared to 7+ hours taken by current protocols. This means that laboratories will be able to do twice the number of reactions in the same time on one machine."

(Inputs and image from theindianexpress.com)

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