IIT-Hyderabad develops AI-based Covid-19 test kit priced at ₹600

Our Bureau Hyderabad | Updated on June 07, 2020

A view of Indian Institute of Technology-Hyderabad campus

One of the biggest hurdles in treating Covid-19 patients is the cost of the screening test, which can go up to ₹4,500-6,000 depending on the availability of the test kits.

A researcher at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Hyderabad) has come out with a test kit that would cost only ₹600 per test. An IIT-H spokesperson said the cost will come down further to ₹350 when volumes go up.

Powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), the test kit would give the results in 20 minutes, breaking another barrier in the treatment of the viral infection. “The test kit has already been field tested at ESIC Medical College and Hospital in Hyderabad to ascertain its efficiency,” an IIT-H spokesperson said.

“It can be transported quickly, enabling the test to be conducted at the point-of-care. A major benefit of this testing kit is that it does not require RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction),” he said.

The testing kit was developed by a team led by Shiv Govind Singh of the Department of Electrical Engineering at IIT-H. Suryasnata Tripathy, a postdoctoral fellow, and Patta Supraja, a fourth-year doctoral student, were among Shiv Govind Singh’s research team.

“Once the testing kit is mass-produced, it will enable us to scale-up testing for Covid-19 suspects in a widespread manner,” BS Murty, Director, IIT Hyderabad, said.

The unique feature of the testing kit includes identifying the unique sequence of conserved region of Covid-19 genome and detecting it. The team also developed AI tools to capture extensive data points to minimise the errors in decision making.

The team has sought approval of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for mass production of the test kit.

Published on June 07, 2020

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