In India, a team of scientists has created an affordable paper-based coronavirus test that could provide rapid results comparable to a pregnancy test. Named after a popular Indian fictional detective, the test is based on Crispr, a gene-editing technology. lScientists predict that the product called Feluda will return results in less than an hour and cost 500 rupees.
The leading Indian conglomerate, Tata, will be making Feluda, and it could be the world’s first Covid-19 paper-based test commercially available.
Researchers at the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) in Delhi, where Feluda was created, as well as private laboratories, checked approximately 2,000 patients for samples, many of whom had already tested positive for coronavirus.
The new test had 96 percent sensitivity and 98 percent specificity. On these two proportions, the accuracy of a test is centered. Almost everyone who has the disease will be identified by an extremely sensitive test; and almost everyone who does not have the disease will be correctly removed by a test that has high specificity.
The first ensures not too many inaccurate negative outcomes; the second ensures not too many false positive outcomes. The test for commercial use has been approved by India’s drug regulator.
India has the second-highest Covid-19 caseload in the world with over six million confirmed infections. So far, more than 100,000 people have died of the disease in the world.
The best and greatest test you can do from home is the one that is paper-based. The technology has some biological limitations, as no one can expect individuals to extract and amplify RNA from home.
This is where the Feluda test could end up making a big difference in people ’s lives as we look at diagnostic tests based on gene editing.