A team of scientists in India has developed an inexpensive paper-based test for coronavirus that could give fast results similar to a pregnancy test.
The test, named after a famous Indian fictional detective, is based on a gene-editing technology called Crispr.
Scientists estimate that the kit – called Feluda – would return results in under an hour and cost around fifteen Fijian dollars.
Feluda will be made by a leading Indian conglomerate, Tata, and could be the world’s first paper-based Covid-19 test available in the market.
Principal scientific adviser to the Indian government Professor Vijay Raghavan says this is a simple, precise and reliable test.
Researchers at the Delhi-based Institute where Feluda was developed, as well as private labs, tried out the test on samples from about 2,000 patients, including ones who had already tested positive for the coronavirus.
They found that the new test had 96% sensitivity and 98% specification.
With more than six million confirmed infections, India has the world’s second-highest Covid-19 caseload. More than 100,000 people in the country have died of the disease so far.