CSIR and Tata MD partners to augment COVID-19 testing

CSIR and Tata MD partners to augment COVID-19 testing

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and Tata Medical and Diagnostics Ltd (Tata MD), the new health care venture from the Tata Group have teamed up to boost the COVID-19 testing capability throughout Tier-II and Tier-III cities in Addition to rural areas, across India.  Both organisations are developing capability to deal with any upcoming surge from the COVID-19 testing demands.

The initiative will use CSIR's nationwide network of scientific labs, and help increase testing capacity in smaller places in the country. The RT-PCR CRISPR test will be performed utilizing the Tata MD CHECK SARS-CoV-2 test kits which are powered by FELUDA technology from CSIR- Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB).

"Apart from vaccination, rapid testing and isolation of SARS-CoV-2 positive persons has emerged as the ideal approach in combatting Covid-19. This initiative in partnership with Tata MD, to deploy the RT-PCR CRISPR test across multiple CSIR labs spread across the country is a significant step. This will augment the national ability to check for COVID and detect it locally", stated Dr Shekhar C Mande, Director General, CSIR.

"By partnering with CSIR's community of deploying and labs fully equipped mobile labs, we're confident that we are able to quickly augment testing capability using quicker and scalable techniques. This will significantly improve the capability of district and state administrations to ensure wider accessibility and easier access to testing in a continuing foundation," said Girish Krishnamurthy, CEO and MD of Tata Medical and Diagnostics.

Significantly, 13 CSIR labs are engaged in executing RT-PCR testing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The venture is aimed at expanding the testing capability further during the upcoming few weeks by deploying the TATA-MD CHECK testing through the huge community of 37 CSIR labs spread throughout the nation, from CSIR-IIIM at Jammu in north to CSIR-NIIST in Thiruvananthapuram in south and CSIR-CSMCRI, Bhavnagar from the west to CSIR-NEIST Jorhat from the North-East.

The very first CSIR laboratory to go live with Tata MD is situated at CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), Dehradun, Uttarakhand. 

"We're glad that CSIR-IIP is your very first CSIR laboratory to launch this initiative and the current testing capability is going to be 800 daily tests which may be scaled up with the Tata MD CHECK automation solution if demand rises significantly", stated Dr Anjan Ray, Director, CSIR-IIP, Dehradun.

Tata MD's end-to-end paper strip based RT-PCR CRISPR (powered by CSIR-IGIB's FELUDA) is a very simple test accepted by ICMR which needs standard laboratory equipment such as thermo cyclers. Another test named Tata MD automated testing solution could increase testing capability by tens of thousands without a cross-contamination. The solution could be deployed in a current NABL II accepted molecular lab in addition to Tata MD mobile testing labs. Tata MD can also be deploying a proprietary 3-room design mobile testing laboratory, constructed in partnership with Lowe's and United manner and fabricated by ShanMukha MIT, can run end-to-end, onsite COVID-19 testing to boost the testing capability.

Tata MD, the new wholly owned healthcare enterprise out of the Tata Group, intends to give leading-edge, patient-centric diagnostic solutions to create health care access more dependable for customers. .

Launched during the 2020 pandemic, Tata MD has developed and launched Tata MD CHECK, the world's first commercially available CRISPR Cas-9 established COVID-19 test, powered by FELUDA by CSIR-IGIB, a top Indian biosciences research institute. (India Science Wire)