The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an antibody test kit for the early screening of COVID-19.
DIPCOVAN, the DIPAS-VDx COVID-19 IgG Antibody Microwell ELISA, for sero-surveillance has been developed by the Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS) in association with Delhi-based firm Vanguard Diagnostics Pvt Ltd.
According to DRDO, the kit can detect spike as well as nucleocapsid (S and N) proteins of SARS-CoV-2 virus with a high sensitivity of 97 per cent and specificity of 99 per cent. It was developed indigenously by scientists, followed by extensive validation on over 1000 patient samples at various COVID hospitals in Delhi.
DRDO said three batches of the product were validated for the last one year. The antibody detection kit is approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in April 2021.
In May 2021, the product received regulatory approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) and Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to manufacture for sale and distribution.
According to DRDO, DIPCOVAN is intended for the qualitative detection of IgG antibodies in human serum or plasma, targeting SARS-CoV-2 related antigens. It offers a significantly faster turn-around time as it requires only 75 minutes to conduct the test without any cross-reactivity with other diseases. The kit has a shelf life of 18 months.
Vanguard Diagnostics Pvt. Ltd is expected to launch the product commercially by the first week of June 2021. Readily available stock at the time of launch will be 100 kits (approximately 10,000 tests) with a production capacity of 500 kits/month after the launch. It is expected to be available at about Rs 75 per test.
The kit is believed to be very useful for understanding COVID-19 epidemiology and assessing an individual's previous SARS-CoV-2 exposure.
Earlier this week, DRDO launched the anti-COVID drug 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG). It has been developed by DRDO's Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) in collaboration with Dr Reddy's Laboratories.
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