Scientists of Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) under Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have developed ‘Saline Gargle RT-PCR Method’ for testing Covid-19 samples.

“It is an easy system which will save human efforts and expenses. Saline Gargle RT-PCR method uses a simple collection tube filled with saline solution. The patient has to gargle the solution and rinse it in the tube. The sample is taken to the laboratory where it is kept at room temperature for about 30 minutes in a special buffer solution prepared by NEERI. An RNA template is produced when this solution is heated and then processed for RT-PCR” said Krishna Khairnar, Senior Scientist, Environmental Virology Cell, NEERI speaking to BusinessLine . The results of the test will be generated within 3 hours.

The swab collection method requires time and it is an invasive technique which uncomfortable for some patients. Khairnar said that gargle RT-PCR has been developed considering all these problems faced by patients.

The method is non-invasive, environment friendly and simple. Patients themselves can collect the sample, he added.

Khairnar said that the technique has received ICMR approval and this system has 100 per cent efficacy. NEERI has identified a commercial manufacturer for commercial scaleup which will start after Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) clearance.

Suitable for remote areas

“This testing will help in rural areas and tests could be conducted even in places which have no infrastructure,” said Khairnar.

NEERI will train other testing labs to help scale up its adoption across the country. The Nagpur Municipal Corporation has given permission to go ahead with the method, following which testing has begun at NEERI, as per approved testing protocol.

With inputs from PIB