Scientists at the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology have come up with a low-cost coronavirus test that will not require any expensive machines for detection of the pathogen.

The test can detect the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) within one hour and is expected to be available for the first phase of testing in four weeks.

Source: www.firstpost.com

Named after ''Feluda'', the detective character in legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray's stories, although it is also an acronym for FNCAS9 Editor-Linked Uniform Detection Assay.

The test uses CRISPR gene-editing technology to identify and target the genetic material of Sars-CoV2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The test has been developed by Debojyoti Chakraborty and Souvik Maiti as a simpler way of detecting SARS-coV2 presence in clinical samples.

Source: gadgetsnow.com

The CRISPR-based Feluda testing works by combining CRISPR biology and paper strip chemistry. Briefly, Cas9 protein, a component of the CRISPR system, is barcoded to interact specifically with the Sars-CoV2 sequence in the patient’s genetic material.

The complex of Cas9 with Sars-CoV2 is then applied to a paper strip, where using two lines (one control, one test) make it possible to determine if the test sample was infected with Covid-19.

Source: www.msn.com

Using the innovative chemistry on a paper strip, the CRISPR complex, bound to that specific sequence, can be visualised as a positive band, like one sees in simple pregnancy tests. The entire diagnostic process takes about one hour, starting from RNA to giving a visual readout on the strip.

What makes this technology different?

Source: www.deccanherald.com

Most labs are working with PCR(polymerase chain reaction)-based technology, which is costly and needs a lab set-up. The paper strip does not require (biosafety) Level-2 or Level-3 lab for testing and can be done in any path lab.

Unlike other CRISPR tests that use CAS12 and CAS13 proteins to detect Sars-CoV2, the CSIR-IGIB kit technology uses CAS9 protein (CRISPR-associated protein 9) to identify and bind to the target sequence.

Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com

CRISPR, which is short for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, is a gene-editing technology that can be used to detect a specific snippet of DNA from a sequence. It can also be used to turn genes on or off without altering their sequence.

Feluda is not limited to Covid-19. The team has been working on Feluda for the past two years to develop an assay that can work on detecting any DNA-RNA or their mutations.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

This is the only Covid-19 testing kit that has been developed using CRISPR-based technology in India. Feluda has been licenced to Tata Sons, which will commercialise the technology for Covid-19 detection.

Each Feluda test costs Rs 500 in the lab, and is expected to bring the cost of testing down from the Rs 4,500 per test for the real-time polymerase chain reaction test (RT-PCR), which is the only available test for detecting current Covid-19 infection.