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CSIR-CCMB was the first non-ICMR lab to start COVID-19 testing in April 2020. Since then it has tested samples, trained and helped other diagnostic labs to set up their COVID-19 testing labs, and developed newer ways of COVID-19 testing.

COVID-19 diagnosis is crucial for proper management of the pandemic. The current gold standard method of diagnosis is RT-PCR-based detection of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus genome in the nasopharyngeal/oropharyngeal swab samples.

We have been testing samples for the Telangana state government since Apr 2020. So far, we have tested more than 65000 samples. We have advised the Telangana government on judiciously using the testing reagents by reducing the usage of Viral Transport Medium in sample transport as well as pooled testing strategies during the early phase of the pandemic.

We have developed the dry swab-based RT-PCR-based diagnosis method. It eliminates the need for Viral Transport Medium and RNA purification. Instead, this method requires inexpensive and commonly available reagents to extract RNA in one step, which is ready for RT-PCR directly. The method is equally sensitive and specific as compared to the commonly used RT-PCR method of testing while saving time and expenses. The simplicity of the method allows to increase the throughput of a testing lab over 2 folds with existing resources.

The method has been validated by over 10 private and government testing facilities across India and is approved by ICMR for country-wide usage by any RT-PCR testing lab.

We are currently training testing personnel across these sectors in adopting the dry swab based direct RT-PCR testing method. ICMR-approved labs can book their slot here.

The technology for this method has been licensed to multiple manufacturing companies to develop kits. You can contact them directly to order kits for starting this method of testing.

Meril Diagnostics
Mahendra Singh
Write at
Call at 97171 20012

Capital Health Services India Pvt Ltd
Rajendra Cherukuri
Write at
Call at 88016 35555

Apollo Hospitals and Indra Chemical Manufacturing Pvt Ltd
Murugesan R
Write at
Call at 87544 82975

If you are interested in licensing the technology, write to us at and


  1. Easing diagnosis and pushing the detection limits of SARS-CoV-2
  2. Temporal stability and detection sensitivity of the dry swab-based diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2

Cases of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection have been confirmed in a variety of non-domesticated and domesticated animals. Some of them are gorilla, mink, tiger, lion, puma, snow leopard, Asian small clawed otters, domestic cats, and dogs after contact with infected humans or animals. The risk of transmission of coronavirus from infected animals to humans is low but some studies warn of the possibility.

LaCONES received requests for testing zoo animals in September 2020. In response to this, we set up SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic services for wildlife. The Central Zoo Authority identified CSIR-CCMB as one among the four labs in the country that would test and report on samples obtained from wild animals. Since then we have been receiving samples and testing them. Our reports have helped develop policies on management of free-ranging and captive big cat populations in the country.

Animals in zoos present a challenge for collection of nasal and oropharyngeal swab samples. To meet this challenge, we initiated studies to determine the feasibility of diagnosing SARS-CoV-2 from fecal samples from zoo animals. The protocols established for our work on surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 from sewage since May 2020 are being tested for testing the animal samples.

Useful documents:

Sample Information Sheet for COVID-19 (for zoo animals)

Guidelines for animal-handling in zoos during COVID-19

We established Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for setting up COVID-19 testing labs in March 2020. This has helped government and private hospitals, diagnostic centres, research institutes and universities. You can download the SOP here.

We are currently training testing personnel across these sectors in adopting the dry swab based direct RT-PCR testing method. ICMR-approved labs can book their slot here.

So far more than 400 testing personnel have been directly trained through CSIR-CCMB.

CSIR-CCMB is one of the ICMR-approved centres to validate the new COVID-19 diagnostic kits. We have worked closely with MSMEs and startups, validated 30 kits, and continue to consult the companies. Out of the 30 kits which were received for validation, 4 of them were given approval based on the criteria set by ICMR. 

In a drive towards self-reliance, AIC-CCMB collaborated with FIND (Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics), an initiative by the Gates foundation to assess the capability of diagnostic machines and its components that are locally produced in India. We conduct tests on various components of diagnostic kits and evaluate them against proven established industry standards. We provide feedback to companies and suppliers of diagnostic kits to improve their standards and provide reliable testing kits. As of now we have tested diagnostic kit components of 10 companies and communicated our feedback to improve their products. 

AIC-CCMB is one of the Centres for Excellence for antigen/antibody-based validation of diagnostics devices and kits. In the Indigenisation of Diagnostics (InDx) program, launched by the Principal Scientific Advisor, Government of India, under the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, AIC-CCMB has been involved in activities ranging from indigenisation of antigen/antibody based diagnostic kits, development of robust, consistent and scalable manufacturing processes, testing of products quality and validation studies.

If you would like to send your kit for validation, please write to