Hyderabad: Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Hyderabad has developed an Artificial Intelligence-powered COVID-19 testing kit that can produce results within 30 minutes for both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.

The major benefit of the `COVIHOME' testing kit is that it does not require RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction), an expert human resource, and a BSL 2 lab facility for the extraction of RNA, so it has potential for one to take the test at home without expert supervision.

Once approved by ICMR, the tests can be performed at home and at an affordable price.

CSIR-CCMB has performed the validation of the rapid RNA electronic diagnostic device for detection of SARS-Cov-2 virus in the swab samples independently with the in-house samples and hospital samples as advised by ICMR.

These samples were confirmed for their positivity or negativity by the RT-PCR method. The validation report confirmed the kit's efficiency 94.2 percent, Sensitivity 91.3percent, and Specificity 98.2percent. Each test costs around Rs. 400 now. However, mass production of the testing kit will help to reduce the cost to around Rs. 300 per test.

COVIHOME testing kit was developed by the research team of Dr. Suryasnata Tripathy, Supraja Patta, Swati Mohanty, and other students. The team was led by Prof. Shiv Govind Singh, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Hyderabad.

Initial clinical trial and testing of the device was performed at ESIC Medical College and Hospital in Hyderabad.

Highlighting the benefits of this testing kit, Prof Shiv Govind Singh said: "A major objective of the research team for the development of the COVIHOME Test Kit was to break the transmission chain through affordable testing. We have already filed a patent for the device and are now looking for industry partners for ToT of technology for mass production".

Director, IIT Hyderabad, Prof B S Murty said: "IITH has come up with many unique and novel socio-technological initiatives and delivered remarkable results during the pandemic. `COVIHOME' is one such admirable milestone. "I am confident it will play a significant role in the safe & fast diagnosis of the COVID19 and minimize its spread."

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