In a unique effort, researchers at IIT Kharagpur have innovated a novel portable rapid diagnostic device to detect COVID-19 infection. This first-of-its-kind device will bring the testing for COVID-19 out from the walls of expensive laboratories and RT-PCR machines and enable testing at affordable costs for the under-served community across the world. This entire test can be conducted in an ultra-low-cost portable enclosure as an alternative to specialized laboratory equipment. The same portable unit can be used for a large number of tests, on mere replacement of the paper cartridge after each test. The device has been proven to produce no false result with remarkable accuracy and sensitivity compatible to standard RT-PCR tests.
The new device has been designed to be usable at locations with extremely poor resources in an uncontrolled environment, catering the needs of the underserved population. Moreover, it can be operated by minimally trained personnel, precluding the needs for skilled technicians. The research team has successfully validated the detection procedure, taking time of approximately 60 minutes to run each test.
The technology essentially deploys a disposable simple paper-strip for chemical analysis and visualization of test results. This rapid test has an unprecedented low cost of less than Rs 400 per test, taking all components of expenses and business model into account.