A team of researchers from IIT Kharagpur in West Bengal has developed a portable rapid diagnostic device that can test samples to detect COVID-19 infection within an hour for Rs 400 only.
The test results – Covid positive or Covid negative – will be sent to the patient’s mobile through a smart phone app.
The market-ready machine was unveiled today at the institute and IIT has already filed a patent for this machine, which the institute says is the first of its kind in the world. Each machine costs around Rs 2000 but it can be scaled down with mass production.
Normally a RT-PCR machine would cost Rs 15 lakhs and a test would cost Rs 2000 – 2500.
“Pool testing is possible. The same portable unit can be used for a large number of tests, on mere replacement of the paper cartridge after each test. At least 10 different samples can be tested every hour,” said Suman Chakraborty, a professor of mechanical engineering at IIT Kharagpur.
The new device has been designed to be usable at remote locations with extremely poor resources with solar power and battery. Moreover, it can be operated by people who have almost no training.
“Once the samples – Nasopharyngeal and swab – are collected it is very use to operate the machine. A person will not need any training and can operate just by reading the instructions that have been prepared in Hindi and Bengali,” said Arindam Mondal, assistant professor at School of Bio Science in IIT Kharagpur.
The researchers said that the institute has developed a market ready device and it would now take the government’s intervention and collaboration of private players to scale up the production for commercial launch.