COVID-19 Test Kit

Kerala Institute Makes Coronavirus Test Kit. Costs Rs.1000, Gives Result in 2 hours


Kerala based institute developed a new kit that performs the test named Chitra GeneLAMP-N.  

A government institute of Trivandrum, Kerala, after weeks of research has developed a new COVID-19 test kit. This kit uses (RT-LAMP) technology to perform the coronavirus test. RT-LAMP stands for “Reverse Transcriptase Loop-Mediated Amplification of Viral Nucleic Acid”. The Chitra GeneLAMP- N test kit can detect two regions of the gene that ensures the high accuracy level of the results. 

Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology

The name of the school that developed this test kit is Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST). One more characteristic of this diagnostic test kit is it can give the results in just 120 mins (2 Hours). The cost of the kit is just Rs 1,000 which is indeed a great deal in the pandemic situation. Mr. Anoop Thekkuveettil and his team got success in developing the kit. He works as a Senior Scientist in the Biomedical Technology Department of the SCTIMST.

Is this Better than RT-PCR Method Adopted Currently?

The popular method used to test coronavirus in the blood samples is RT-PCR. This technique detects the E gene for screening the virus and RdRp gene for confirmation of the presence of coronavirus in the blood sample.

The newly developed test kit Chitra GeneLAMP-N can confirm the presence of coronavirus without screening in one test only. Those too at a much lower cost. In this testing method, 30 samples are taken in a single batch. A single machine is used to process these samples. It can help in performing a large number of tests in a day.

Recently, the performance and accuracy of the kits are under evaluation at the National Institute of Virology, Alappuzha. The results of the Chitra GeneLAMP- N test kit were absolutely accurate and resembles the test results of the traditional RT-PCR method.

The LAMP testing devices cost approximately Rs 2.5 lakhs. The cost of RT-PCR test machine is between Rs 15 to 40 lakh whereas the test using RT-PCR method costs Rs 2000 to Rs 5000 per test.

Laboratory Requirements for LAMP-N

As per the researchers, Chitra GeneLAMP-N laboratory and the testing facility can be established in a small place at any district hospital with limited facilities. In order to perform the test at a mass level, laboratory technicians can also be trained. The test kit has to undergo several governmental formalities before knocking the market floor in India. Currently, its licensing is under process official.

The testing technology has been transferred to the Agappe Diagnostics for machine and test kit manufacturing. It is an Ernakulam based firm. Sree Chitra Institute has also developed the RNA extraction kits.

“Development of a novel, inexpensive, rapid confirmatory for the diagnosis of COVID-19 by Sree Chitra in record time is a compelling example of how a creative team of clinicians and scientists working together seamlessly can leverage knowledge and infrastructure to make relevant breakthroughs,” said Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST.

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