C-CIDA identifies 3 local kits makers to ramp-up cost-effective Covid-19 testing

Anil Urs Bengaluru | Updated on April 30, 2020 Published on April 30, 2020

Keeping widespread testing to be the core of India’s response to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, Bengaluru-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms’ C-CIDA (Covid-19 Innovation Deployment Accelerator) has identified three Indian start-up companies ― CoSara Diagnostics, Huwel Life Sciences and DNAXperts, to scale-up production of low-cost kits.

C-CIDA has selected three indigenous diagnostic kit makers to ramp-up their production. Currently, two of the three companies have received regulatory approval from ICMR, and one is already in the market. The testing cost for all three companies has been pegged at around ₹1,000 per test, which is less than a quarter of the current cost of imported test kits at ₹4,500.

“Locally-made and locally-sourced testing kits like CoSara, Huwel and DNAXperts will strengthen India’s testing capacity and help in controlling the scale of transmission. Under the current circumstances, the faster we turn to locally manufactured low-cost, rapid and reliable diagnostic kits the better it will be to boost the number of tests to ICMR’s target of one lakh a day,” said Dr Taslimarif Saiyed, CEO & Director, C-CAMP.

C-CIDA is backed by a multi-partner coalition of several Indian and global industry and investor bodies which include Social Alpha, United Nations Health Innovation Exchange or UNIHIE, MedTechConnect, Xynteo India2022, AIC-CCMB, CCMB, India Health Fund, PATH, Action Covid-19 Team or ACT and 91Springboard.

CoSara Diagnostics

Ahmedabad-based CoSara Diagnostics is the first Indian company to get a test licence from CDSCO in late March. The kit that was in a fast-track validation study at NIV, Pune, has now received manufacturing licence and is ready to hit the market.

Their single-step reaction kit (RT-PCR) is based on a trademarked CoPrimer technology of US-based partner company Co-Diagnostics. The kit gives results in two and a half hours and costs a fraction of imported kits. The company can produce 20,000 kits a day.

Huwel Lifesciences

Huwel Lifesciences of Hyderabad is an end-to-end locally-made and locally-sourced kit that received ICMR approval and NARI validation in late March. Their product is a real-time qualitative PCR kit for quick diagnostics that reduces the testing time to less than two hours. Moreover, all molecular reagents and diagnostic consumables are being made in-house, an otherwise major loophole in availability and cost management. Their ultrafast and sensitive chip-based PCR can handle large volumes with ease, making a rapid and confirmatory diagnosis affordable and accessible.

Recently, the company deployed a consignment of 10,000 kits in Telengana, with two more orders on the way.


DNAXperts is a Noida-based company which has developed a fast, real-time PCR kit for Cov-2 RNA detection. It uses special probes for enhanced sensitivity and specificity, and takes less than an hour to test. A second kit that they have proposed does away with RNA extraction by directly putting the swab sample in a buffer. This test is expected to further reduce the time taken for results. DNAXperts is currently undergoing ICMR approval for both the kits. It can produce 8,000-10,000 kits a day with a capacity to scale up to one lakh kits.

Published on April 30, 2020

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