The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved the commercial launch of Tata Group’s Feluda, a COVID19 test, developed by Tata Group and CSIR-IGIB.
The test has been developed as per ICMR guidelines, meeting high quality benchmarks with 96% sensitivity and 98% specificity for detecting the novel coronavirus.
“This test uses an indigenously developed, cutting-edge CRISPR technology for detection of the genomic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 virus.CRISPR is a genome editing technology to diagnosing diseases,” said a statement issued by the Union science & technology ministry.
The Tata CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) test is the world’s first diagnostic test to deploy a specially-adapted Cas9 protein to successfully detect the virus causing Covid-19, the ministry said.
This marks a significant achievement for the Indian scientific community, moving from R&D to a high-accuracy, scalable and reliable test in less than 100 days.
The Tata CRISPR test achieves accuracy levels of traditional RT-PCR tests, with quicker turnaround time, less expensive equipment, and better ease of use.
Moreover, CRISPR is a futuristic technology that can also be configured for the detection of multiple other pathogens in the future.
The effort is the result of a fruitful collaboration between the scientific community and industry.
“The Tata Group has worked closely with CSIR-IGIB and ICMR to create a high-quality test that will help the nation ramp up Covid-19 testing quickly and economically, with a ‘Made in India’ product that is safe, reliable, affordable, and accessible,” the ministry stated.
Regarding the new development, Girish Krishnamurthy, CEO, TATA Medical and Diagnostics Ltd, said, “The approval for the Tata CRISPR test for COVID-19 will give a boost to the country’s efforts in fighting the global pandemic.”
“The commercialization of the Tata CRISPR test reflects the tremendous R&D talent in the country, which can collaborate to transform India’s contributions to the global healthcare and scientific research world,” Krishnamurthy said.
Dr Shekhar C Mande, DG-CSIR complimented the CSIR-IGIB team of scientists and students, TATA Sons and DCGI for the exemplary work and collaboration carried out during the current pandemic.
Dr Anurag Agrawal, director, CSIR-IGIB, expressed delight that work started by CSIR under the sickle cell mission for genome diagnostics and therapeutics led to new knowledge that could be harnessed to quickly develop new diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2.
He emphasized that this shows the interconnectedness of scientific knowledge and technology and the innovation of the young research team led by Dr Debojyoti Chakraborty and Dr SouvikMaiti.