India’s first Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) based COVID-19 test called FELUDA has been approved for use. FELUDA is jointly developed by CSIR-Institute of Genomics & Integrative Biology (IGIB) and TATA Medical and Diagnostics Ltd. FELUDA has 96% sensitivity and 98% specificity for detecting SARSCoV2. CRISPR is a genome-editing technology to diagnosing diseases.
As per the developers, the Tata CRISPR test achieves accuracy levels of RT-PCR tests with quicker turnaround time. So far, FELUDA is the only test which uses Cas9 protein for detection. This test is also cheaper than the available tests in the market but the makers have not divulged the cost yet.
“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,” said a statement by the TATA Group.
Dr Anurag Agrawal, Director CSIR-IGIB said that the work started by CSIR under the sickle cell mission for genome diagnostics and therapeutics helped to fasttrack the project.
The IGIB team which developed the kit was led by Dr Debojyoti Chakraborty and Dr SouvikMaiti.