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‘Feluda Test’ – Detects the Coronavirus within an hour


Scientists from CSIR’s Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi have developed an inexpensive paper-based detection test called ‘Feluda’ for Covid-19 and it can give results in an hour’s time. Tests were carried out on samples from about 2,000 patients, including ones who had already tested positive for the coronavirus.

Researchers found that the new test had 96 % sensitivity and 98% specificity. It will detect almost who has the disease and also correctly rule out who doesn’t have the disease. The test first ensures not too many false-negative results; and the second not too many false positives. Experts believe that this kind of test could potentially replace the antigen tests because it could be comparatively cheaper, more accurate, quicker, and can be done in smaller laboratories that don’t have sophisticated machines.

Drug Controller General of India, has given in-principal approval for commercial launch on September 19 and it will be manufactured by the leading Indian conglomerate Tata Sons, in partnership with CSIR for its positioning and extensive use for rapid mass testing on the ground by the end of the month. Affordability, easy use, and non-dependency on expensive Q-PCR machines are the main advantages, scientists shared.

The test, named after a famous Indian fictional detective ‘Feluda’ created by late film-maker Satyajit Ray, is based on a gene-editing technology called Crispr. According to Dr. Thoms Tsai of the Harvard Global Health Institute, the Crispr-based tests are a part of a “third wave of tests” after the time consuming and labour intensive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and antigen tests. And it is ideal and the ultimate test will be the one that is paper-based which you can do from home.

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