IPU bags funding for developing COVID-19 antibody tests

New Delhi: The Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (IPU) here has been selected for funding by a research consortium between the Biotechnology Industry Research Council (BIRAC) and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) to develop a low-cost indigenous COVID-19 antibody test that can be used for mass screening in pandemic populations. The university said that a preliminary research proposal submitted to the BIRAC-DBT by Dr Gaurav Pandey of the University School of Biotechnology (USBT) had been selected in a competitive process for Rs 98 lakh in funding to develop these antibody tests.

As per the details of the project, the tests will be developed by a team headed by Dr Gaurav Pandey from IP University, Dr Anurag Rathore from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and Prateek Mittal from Medsource Ozone, an NCR-based In Vitro Diagnostics organisation. While the project has been given a one-year deadline, the university said that major milestones are expected to be achieved in six months.

As part of the funding structure, IPU will receive around Rs 60 lakh of the research funds, IIT around Rs 21 lakh and Medsource around Rs 17 lakh.

The test that this project will develop is a lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA), which researchers claim will be able to deliver results in 15-20 minutes and will be resource independent so that they can be used in remote locations.

And while IPU and IIT will work on the technology, Medsource has been brought on board as an industrial partner which will oversee the manufacturing and commercialisation of the tests.

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