What is the FELUDA Test?
The FELUDA test is a paper strip test for coronavirus. The test works by using CRISPR-Cas9 technology to detect certain genes that are specific to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. FELUDA serves as an acronym for FNCAS9 Editor-Limited Uniform Detection Assay. The FELUDA test kit derived its name from the legendary fictitious Bengali detective Feluda created by Satyajit Ray. The makers of the test knew of a test called Sherlock. Therefore, they chose FELUDA as the name for this test developed in India, since it matched the context.
Why is it an alternative to a RT-PCR?
The FELUDA test is faster and accurate than a Rapid Antigen Test. The FELUDA test kit takes only 45 minutes to complete and is much cheaper because it does not require expensive chemicals like the RT-PCR test. The FELUDA test will be compact and can be sold commercially. The RT-PCR test has equipment that is difficult to transport.
How accurate is the new FELUDA Test for COVID?
The FELUDA test is among the most accurate tests for corona. The Ministry of Science and Technology had a press release issued stating that the FELUDA test has a specificity of 98% and a sensitivity of 96%. The tests were successfully tested in labs on over 2000 patients during the clinical trials.
When the FELUDA Test developed?
The FELUDA test kit is developed by a team of scientists at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). FELUDA is also the world’s first diagnostic test to use a specially developed Cas9 protein to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Since the pandemic began, a team of scientists led by Debojyoti Chakraborty and Souvik Maiti were working on the way to develop a diagnostic tool based on genome data for sickle cell. Their work was harnessed in less than 100 days to develop the FELUDA test. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) announced in late September that it had approved the Tata Group to launch the FELUDA test commercially in the market.
How does the FELUDA COVID-19 test work?
The FELUDA test for corona works using the revolutionary Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic (CRISPR) technology that has been developed by the team of scientists in India. CRISPR technology is capable of detecting the genome sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The test will look similar to a home pregnancy test and will have a strip of a special paper which will change its colour if the virus is detected in the sample that is tested. The FELUDA test for corona will soon be available in markets. In case you have queries such as FELUDA test near me, the test will be available with doctors and diagnostic labs. It is hoped that a home kit version of the test will also be developed soon so that people can test themselves at home. The steps of the test are as follows:
- A nasal swab is collected
- RNA is extracted to be tested
- The test mix is prepared by mixing the Cas9 protein, RNA, and viral DNA
- The swab is introduced to the FELUDA test mix
- The gold nanoparticles that are on the test strip are attached to the FELUDA complex
- A protein named Streptavidin on the strip captures the gold attached with FELUDA complex
- Colour changes on the test line. One line means negative, and two lines mean the test is positive for COVID.
Cost and how is it cheaper from other tests?
The FELUDA test cost in India is much lower than other tests available currently, especially the RT-PCR. This is because the FELUDA test does not use or require any expensive chemicals. The FELUDA test cost in India is expected to be around INR 600. Most other COVID-19 testing kits are priced between INR 1000 to 3000. Once the commercial availability is decided upon, the FELUDA test availability will be great and widespread.