New Saline Gargle RT-PCR Launched For Covid-19 Detection, Results In 3 Hours

New Delhi: Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved a new method of Covid detection by ‘Saline Gargle RT-PCR Test’ which is developed by Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) under Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

It is simple, fast, cost-effective, patient-friendly and comfortable; it also offers instant results and is well-suited for rural and tribal areas, given minimal infrastructure requirements.

Sampling is done instantly and results will be generated within 3 hours. The method is non-invasive and so simple that the patient herself can collect the sample, said Senior Scientist, Environmental Virology Cell, NEERI Krishna Khairnar.

Here is all you need to know about the new method:

  • The Saline Gargle RT-PCR method uses a simple collection tube filled with saline solution.
  • The patient gargles the solution for 15-20 seconds and rinses it inside the tube.
  • This sample in the collection tube is taken to the laboratory where it is kept at room temperature, in a special buffer solution prepared by NEERI.
  • An RNA template is produced when this solution is heated, which is further processed for Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR).

ICMR shared some salient features and advantages of Saline Gargle RT-PCR Test:

  • Nasopharyngeal swab, oropharyngeal swab and viral transport NOT required.
  • Skilled health care workers for sample collection NOT required.
  • Non-invasive sampling and patient-friendly.
  • Waste generation during sample collection is minimised
  • Self-sampling is possible.
  • Fast sampling is possible
  • Long queues of patients persons at sample collection centre can be minimised
  • No RNA extraction kit required. Simple room temperature incubation in buffer, followed by heating for few minutes is good enough to give a reasonably good RNA template for Direct RT-PCR.

The scientist expects that this innovative testing technique will be beneficial especially for rural and tribal areas where infrastructure requirements can be a constraint.

NEERI has further been asked to train other testing labs, to help scale up its adoption across the country.

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