Scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad (IITH) have developed COVIHOME, an artificial intelligence-powered Covid-19 test that allows self-testing at home.
On obtaining ICMR approvals, and after commercialisation, the kit developed by Prof Shiv Govind Singh, Department of Electrical Engineering, will be available in the market at an affordable price.
This test kit can produce results within 30 minutes for both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. The major benefit of this testing kit is that it does not require RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction), an expert human resource, and a BSL 2 lab facility for the extraction of RNA, so it has potential for one to take the test at home without expert supervision.
Explaining the benefits of the testing kit, Shiv Govind Singh said, “A major objective of the research team for the development of the COVIHOME Test Kit was to break the transmission chain through affordable testing. We have already filed a patent for the device and are now looking for industry partners for ToT of technology for mass production”.
As per IITH, CSIR-CCMB has performed the validation of the rapid RNA electronic diagnostic device for detection of
SARS-Cov-2 virus in the swab samples independently with the in-house samples and hospital samples as advised by ICMR. These samples were confirmed for their positivity or negativity by the RT-PCR method.
The validation report confirmed the kit’s efficiency at 94.2 percent, Sensitivity 91.3 percent and Specificity 98.2 percent.
While a test currently costs around Rs 400, the developers say that mass production of the testing kit will help to reduce the cost to around Rs 300 per test.
Speaking about the role of IIT Hyderabad in helping tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, Prof B S Murty, Director, IIT Hyderabad, said, “IITH has come up with many unique & novel socio-technological initiatives and delivered remarkable results during this pandemic. Prof Shiv Govind’s “COVIHOME” is one such admirable milestone. I am confident it will play a significant role in the safe & fast diagnosis of COVID-19 and minimize its spread”.
The COVIHOME testing kit was developed by the research team of Dr Suryasnata Tripathy, Supraja Patta, Swati Mohanty, and other students led by Shiv Govind Singh, Department of Electrical Engineering.
The initial clinical trial and testing of the device was performed at ESIC Medical College and Hospital in Hyderabad. “Dean ESIC, Prof Srinivas M, and his team Dr Imaran, Dr Swati, and Dr Rajeev have played a big role in the successful development of this novel kit”, said Singh.