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Rapid test kit for Covid that produces results in 30 seconds may be launched in a few weeks’

New Delhi | Updated on July 27, 2020 Published on July 27, 2020

A rapid testing kit for Covid-19 that may provide highly reliable results in 30 seconds or lessis likely to be jointly launched by India and Israel in just a few weeks, said Israel’s Ambassador to India, Ron Malka.

“Tests based on four leading technologies have already been carried out in Israel and a team of researchers from the country is now here in India to carry out tests together with their Indian research partners,” Malka told BusinessLine.

Joint research

The Israeli Ambassador is hopeful that the final stages of the joint research, being carried out by the Directorate of Defence Research and Development (DDR&D) in Israel, the Israeli Health Ministry, with India’s principal scientist adviser K Vijay Raghavan and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), will be over soon and manufacturing of the kits can start.

“We are hoping to be ready with the rapid testing kits within a few weeks, and not months,” said Malka.

The first of the four technologies being tested is based on a voice test that will try to take a voice print as the patient speaks and test it for the virus. The second is a breathalyser test based on high frequency laser testing, where the virus resonates in the frequency and gets revealed. The third is isothermal technology where temperature is used to identify the virus, while the fourth is a polyamino test where artificial intelligence will be used to identify specific proteins.

Depending on the success of the tests, the rapid testing kit could use one or more of the four technologies, the Ambassador said. “We want the effectiveness of the kits to be as high as possible and we will see what combination of the technologies give the best results,” the Ambassador said.

Malka said that the tests will not only take about half-a-minute to be carried out, as opposed to a few days required with existing technology where samples need to be sent to laboratories; it will also be much cheaper.

“Since people will now just need to blow into a tube to get the results, the samples need not be sent to labs, which will cut down greatly on the expenses involved,” he said.

The joint research was an example of the strong friendship between Israel and India, Malka said. “When the pandemic broke out, we got so much assistance from India. The Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Civil Aviation, together with the police, helped us get thousands of Israelis back to the country. India also provided important pharmaceuticals to us. There is strong friendship between the two countries. We are here to share with India all our achievements (in fighting Covid-19),” he said.

The special flights that landed from Israel in India on Monday not only had a strong research delegation to work on the rapid testing kits, but also medical equipment and respirators to be used in the country.

“The flights have brought in Israel’s best medical equipment developed to fight Covid-19 that will be taken to All India Institute of Medical Sciences. These include medical robots and special santisers that can be used on large surfaces and last a long time. We have also got 83 respirators after getting special waivers for its export from Israel,” Malka said.

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Published on July 27, 2020
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