Soon, a simple finger-prick diagnostic test to detect Covid-19 antibodies in blood samples will be widely available at nursing homes, hospitals and private laboratories. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved Delhi-based Oscar Medicare’s indigenous point-of-care (POC) rapid test kits, which is perhaps the only firm to have received funding from the department of biotechnology.
After the fiasco with Chinese ‘faulty’ kits and government canceling their licences, the focus has been mainly on the ‘gold standard’ RT-PCR (real-time polymerase chain reaction) testing, and antigen testing.
The government has not allowed POC testing for the novel coronavirus yet, as antibody tests should not be used as the sole basis to diagnose the disease.
Oscar Medicare, one of the largest manufacturers of pregnancy kits, also makes HIV, HCV, dengue, and malaria POC diagnostic kits at its three plants.
“We are planning to launch two lakh test kits in September, and have already tied up with distributors across the country… The test is similar to a glucometer and will provide results in 20 minutes,” group CEO Anand Sekhri told, adding that the firm’s capacity is five lakh test kits per day.
Dhiti Life Sciences, a group company, manufactured the raw material, ‘Corona fusion antigen’ used in its test kits, a first in the country, the company claims. The POC kits are expected to be priced at around Rs 200.
Industry experts say there are a few rapid POC kits in the market and sold online, but their reliability is under a cloud.