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It is two to three times faster than the conventional RT-PCR method, and is economical also

The CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) in Mysuru is ready to carry out COVID-19 tests through the newly developed dry swab RT-PCR method that promises quicker results, paving the way for ramping up testing when the rate of infection is high.

The method, developed by Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, which is also a constituent of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), had been approved by Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).

CFTRI Director Sridevi Singh told The Hindu that it was two to three times faster than the conventional RT-PCR method. “It is an easier way of testing. It is economical also.”

CFTRI presently is presently carrying out COVID-19 tests on the swabs collected from Mysuru and surrounding areas through the RT-PCR method. The institute has conducted more than 2.25 lakh tests since the pandemic began. The tests, which had reached 2,000 per day during the second wave, had been reduced to around 800 per day since the last one week.

“The conventional method, which takes around three hours, involves RNA extraction. But, this step (RNA extraction) is eliminated in the dry swab method”, she said adding that testing centres now use automated RNA extraction equipment and any breakdown in the machinery delays the testing process further.

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