Published: 03rd May 2020
Kerala's Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences & Technology develop nasal, oral swabs for COVID-19 testing
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) USA, recommends the usage of synthetic fibre swabs with plastic shafts
Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) has developed two types of nasal and oral swabs and viral transport medium for COVID-19 testing, the institute said in a statement on Sunday.
Chitra Viral Transport Medium is specifically designed to retain the virus in its active form during its transportation from the collection point to the laboratory. Currently, kits containing 50 numbers of (3ml/vial) viral transport medium with 50 swabs cost is upwards of Rs 12,000, the statement said.
The ergonomic design of the swabs helps in improved specimen collection with minimum discomfort to patients. Safe and convenient breakpoint ensures minimal contact with the health worker with the sample during packing, it added. The entry of these two swabs developed with locally available material can reduce import dependency of the materials currently used and meet the huge demand for them at much lower costs.
"Chitra EmBed flocked nylon swabs (co-developed with Mallelil Industries Pvt ltd) and Chitra EnMesh, polymeric foam-tipped, lint-free swabs with flexible plastic handles have both proven efficiency in the adequacy of specimen collection, rapid elution of specimen into the liquid viral medium and good recovery of viral RNA collected using these swabs and medium," read the statement.
Nasal and throat specimens collected with specially designed swabs are used for the detection of SARS-COV2 by viral gene amplification method which is necessary for the confirmation of COVID-19.
Proper and adequate specimen collection and its transport in a suitable liquid medium are critical for ensuring good quality and quantity of viral RNA from the sample for testing as this influence the accuracy of the test. Centre for disease control and prevention (CDC) USA, recommends the use of synthetic fibre swabs with plastic shafts, preferably flocked swabs when available.
Technologies for both swabs and viral transport medium have been transferred to two industries for immediate manufacture and sales, Mallelil Industries, Origin diagnostics and Levram Life sciences. They will be available as sterile, ready-to-use devices, the statement added.