Feluda Paper Strip Test for COVID-19: How it Works, Cost, Timing and Availability

It has been a year since the first known COVID-19 case was reported in China. Since then, countries across the globe have been dealing with a surge in the number of cases and have adopted various different strategies to fight it.

Now, an indigenously developed testing kit for the coronavirus — that gets its name from the fictitious detective, Feluda, in a series of novels written by Satyajit Ray — has been launched. The paper-strip test was approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research in September this year.

As of now, a SARS-CoV 2 test conducted by an authorised laboratory in India takes upto 24 hours to share the results with you. However, Feluda, which is based on the gene-editing technology Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR), gives you the results in less than an hour.

Things to know about this test kit

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  • Developed by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB), the Feluda paper strip test has been approved by the Drug Controller General of India for a commercial launch.
  • This test has been launched by the TATA group in collaboration with the Apollo group of hospitals.
  • This is the first paper-based testing kit that will be available across Apollo labs.
  • With almost 2000 people having used this test kit, it was found that it had a 96 per cent sensitivity and 98 per cent specificity.
  • The Feluda test results can be obtained in about 40 minutes.
  • Similar to a home pregnancy test kit, two blue lines indicate a positive result, while a single blue line means the test has returned negative.
  • No further RT-PCR based confirmation is required for samples that are confirmed as positive or negative by the CRISPR SARS-CoV-2 test, an advisory issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) earlier had stated.
  • The test kit is now available in Delhi and by the end of November, is likely to be available across 8 metros, including, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune and Ahmedabad.
  • The Feluda test kit is being retailed as Tata MD Check.
  • This kit will not be available as an Over The Counter kit and will need a phlebotomist for swab collection.
  • This testing kit will be made available across Apollo hospitals and associated laboratories.
  • This kit has not been approved for self-testing.

(Edited by Yoshita Rao)

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