Nanoparticle-based RNA extraction kit for detection of COVID-19 is set to be commercially launched

Nanoparticle-based RNA extraction kit  for detection of COVID-19  is set to be commercially launched

Agappe Chitra Magna, a magnetic nanoparticle-based RNA extraction kit used in the detection of COVID-19 will be commercially launched on May 21, 2020, announced the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The kit developed by the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) Trivandrum is manufactured by Cochin based in vitro diagnostics manufacturing company Agappe Diagnostics Ltd. 

The kit initially developed by SCTIMST under the leadership of senior scientist, Dr Anoopkumar Thekkuveettil has been independently validated at the National Institute of Virology for COVID-19 RNA isolation. It has also received sanction for commercialisation from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).

The kit uses magnetic nanoparticles for isolating viral RNA from the patient sample. The nanoparticle beads bind to the viral RNA and when later exposed to a magnetic field, give a highly purified and concentrated RNA. The sensitivity of detection of the disease is dependent on the ability to extract adequate quantities of the viral RNA which in turn enhances the chances of identifying positive cases.

The kit can be used for RNA extraction for RT-LAMP, RT-qPCR, RT-PCR and other isothermal and PCR based protocols for the detection of SARS-COV-2.

The kit which is now priced around Rs.150 per instrument is expected to reduce the cost of testing as the country used to depend on imported kits which cost around Rs 300 until now. With a manufacturing capacity of 3 lakh kits per month, Agappe Diagnostics is expecting to meet the estimated requirement of the country which is approximately 8 lakh kits per month for the coming months.