DRDO develops COVID-19 antibody detection kit; costs @ 75 per test

RNS: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an antibody detection-based kit, ‘DIPCOVAN’ for the early screening of COVID.

DRDO released this indigenous kit (DIPCOVAN) on Friday days after it launched an anti-covid medicine 2-DG (2-deoxy-D-glucose). The kit costing Rs 75 will only (per test) be produced by a pharmaceutical company in Delhi. The kit is scheduled to be launched in June.

Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS), a laboratory of DRDO, has developed ‘DIPCOVAN’, the DIPAS-VDx COVID-19 IgG Antibody Microwell ELISA for sero-surveillance, it said in a communiqué released by PIB.

The DIPCOVAN kit can detect both spikes as well as nucleocapsid (S&N) proteins of SARS-CoV-2 virus with a high sensitivity of 97 per cent and specificity of 99 per cent. The kit has been developed in association with Vanguard Diagnostics Pvt Ltd, a development and manufacturing diagnostics company based at New Delhi.

The scientists developed the DIPCOVAN kit indigenously, followed by extensive validation on more than 1,000 patient samples at various COVID designated hospitals in Delhi. Three batches of the product were validated during the last one year. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) approved the antibody detection kit in April 2021, it stated.

In May 2021, the product received regulatory approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to manufacture for sale and distribution.

According to the 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 just 75 minutes to conduct the test without any cross-reactivity with other diseases. The kit has a shelf life of 18 months.

“Industry partner Vanguard Diagnostics Pvt. Ltd will commercially launch the product during the first week of June 2021. Readily available stock at the time of launch will be 100 kits (approx. 10,000 tests) with a production capacity of 500 kits per month after the launch. It is expected to be available at about Rs 75 per test,” it stated.

The kit will be very useful for understanding COVID‐19 epidemiology and assessing an individual’s previous SARS‐CoV‐2 exposure.

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