DRDO develops Covid-19 antibody detection kit

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an antibody detection kit known as Dipcovan, which is expected to be available at Rs 75 per test in the market from June first week onwards.

The kit has been developed by the Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS) of DRDO.

“The antibody detection-based kit Dipcovan is the DIPAS-VDx Covid-19 IgG Antibody Microwell ELISA for sero-surveillance,” the institution said.

The kit can detect both spike 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 in New Delhi.

The kit has been developed indigenously by the scientists, 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 last one year. The antibody detection kit was approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in April this year.

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

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 will commercially launch the product in the first week of June.

“Readily available stock at the time of launch will be 100 kits (approx 10,000 tests) with a production capacity of 500 kits/month after the launch. It is expected to be available at about Rs 75 per test,” the DRDO said.

The kit will be useful for understanding the Covid-19 epidemiology and assessing an individual’s previous SARSaCoVa2 exposure.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has appreciated the efforts of the DRDO and the industry in developing the kit at this time of need.