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Science & Technology

Feluda Test for Covid-19

  • 11 May 2020
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) has developed India’s first paper strip test for Covid-19 namely, ‘Feluda’.

Key Points

  • Description:
    • The Feluda is a paper strip test that detects the coronavirus in an hour.
    • Feluda is an acronym for FNCAS9 Editor Linked Uniform Detection.
    • It is expected to help to fulfil an urgent need of the rapid testing in India.
    • It is the first such indigenous test kit to be developed in India based on Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) technology.
      • CRISPR is a gene editing technology, which replicates natural defence mechanisms in bacteria to fight virus attacks, using a special protein called Cas9.
      • CRISPR-Cas9 technology behaves like a cut-and-paste mechanism on DNA strands that contain genetic information. The specific location of the genetic codes that need to be changed, or edited, is identified on the DNA strand, and then, using the Cas9 protein, which acts like a pair of scissors, that location is cut off from the strand.
      • A DNA strand, when broken, has a natural tendency to repair itself. Scientists intervene during this auto-repair process, supplying the desired sequence of genetic codes that binds itself with the broken DNA strand.
  • Comparison to the RT-PCR Test:
    • Working Principle: The Feluda test uses the gene-editing tool-Crispr-Cas9 to target and identify genomic sequences of the novel coronavirus in suspected individual samples.
    • Cost: The Feluda test will cost less than Rs.500 compared to Rs. 4500 for the real-time PCR test which is currently being used for Covid-19 diagnosis in India.
    • Required Medical Machinery: The Feluda test also does not rely on expensive real-time PCR machines for RNA isolation, DNA conversion, and amplification which are already in limited supply in the country.

Source:FE

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