Fighting COVID-19: DRDO Develops Antibody Detection Kit

New Delhi: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has made another significant contribution in India’s fight against COVID-19.

Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS), a laboratory of DRDO, has developed an antibody detection kit called ‘Dipcovan’ for sero-surveillance.

According to a Defence ministry release, the DIPAS-VDx COVID-19 IgG Antibody Microwell ELISA kit can detect spike and nucleocapsid (S&N) proteins of SARS-CoV-2 virus with a high sensitivity of 97% and specificity of 99%.

The kit has been developed in association with Vanguard Diagnostics Pvt. Ltd, a development and manufacturing diagnostics company based at New Delhi.

Vanguard Diagnostics will commercially launch the product during the first week of June 2021. About 100 kits (approximately 10,000 tests) will be readily available at the time of launch. Subsequently, the production capacity will be 500 kits/month.

It is expected to be available at about Rs 75 per test.

The kit will be very useful for understanding COVID‐19 epidemiology and assessing an individual’s previous SARS‐CoV‐2 exposure.

After scientists developed the kit, extensive trials were carried out on over 1,000 patient samples at various COVID hospitals in Delhi. After three batches of the product were validated during the past one year, the antibody detection kit was approved by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in April 2021.

Earlier this month, the product received regulatory approval from Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to be manufactured for sale and distribution.

Aimed at qualitative detection of IgG antibodies in human serum or plasma, targeting SARS-CoV-2 related antigens, the kit offers a significantly faster turnaround time as it requires just 75 minutes to conduct the test without any cross reactivity with other diseases. The kit has a shelf life of 18 months.

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