Tech for saline gargle RT-PCR test transferred to MSME Ministry
A Nagpur-based research institute has transferred the know-how of an indigenous saline gargle RT-PCR test for COVID-19 to the Union Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Ministry, a statement said Sunday. The test was developed by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), and compared to the RT-PCR nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swabs, it is non-invasive and simple. Here are more details.
According to the statement, the CSIR-NEERI transferred the know-how of the test to the MSME Ministry on a non-exclusive basis to serve society. The statement by the Science and Technology Ministry further said that this would enable the innovation to be "commercialized and licensed to all capable parties, including private, government and various rural development schemes and departments."
Manufacturing facilities are expected to be established for commercial production, which will be in the form of easily usable compact kits. CSIR-NEERI fast-tracked the know-how transfer process to potential licensees considering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation, the statement by the S&T Ministry said. The ceremonial transfer was done in the presence of MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday.
The test is "simple, fast, cost-effective, patient-friendly and comfortable" and is said to provide instant test results. Since it also requires minimal infrastructure, it is well-suited for rural and tribal areas. NEERI scientist Dr. Krishna Khairnar is the principal inventor of the technology along with the team of research scholars of Environmental Virology at CSIR-NEERI, the statement added.
Since the test is simple and non-invasive, an individual can easily collect their own sample. In comparison, the nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swab collection techniques require a degree of technical expertise. The tests are also time-consuming.
Nitin Gadkari said, "The saline gargle RT-PCR method needs implementation across the nation, especially in resource-poor regions like rural and tribal areas." He added, "This would result in faster and more citizen-friendly testing and will strengthen our fight against the pandemic. The MSME unit had approached CSIR-NEERI for commercializing the saline gargle RT-PCR technology developed by CSIR-NEERI."