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IgG ELISA test for antibody detection developed by ICMR-NIV, Pune will play a critical role in surveillance for COVID-19: Dr Harsh Vardhan

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ICMR has partnered with Zydus Cadila for mass scale production of the ELISA test kits

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-National Institute of Virology (NIV) at Pune has developed and validated the indigenous IgG ELISA test ‘COVID KAVACH ELISA’ for antibody detection for COVID-19.

ICMR-National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune is the apex laboratory of the country with state-of-the-art infrastructure and expertise for research in virology. NIV’s competent scientific team successfully isolated the SARS-CoV-2 virus from laboratory confirmed patients in India. This in turn has paved the way for development of indigenous diagnostics for SARS-CoV-2. 

While real-time RT-PCR is the frontline test for clinical diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2, robust antibody tests are critical for surveillance to understand the proportion of the population exposed to infection.

The scientists at ICMR-NIV, Pune have enthusiastically worked to develop and validate the completely indigenous IgG ELISA test for antibody detection for SARS-CoV-2. The test was validated at two sites in Mumbai and has been found to have high sensitivity and specificity. In addition, the test will have the advantage of testing 90 samples together in a single run of 2.5 hours. Moreover, ELISA-based testing is easily possible even at the district level as the ELISA kit has inactivated virus. There are also minimal bio-safety and bio-security requirements as compared to the real-time RT-PCR test. The test has an advantage of having much higher sensitivity and specificity as compared to the several rapid test kits which have recently flooded the Indian market.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “The robust indigenous IgG ELISA test for antibody detection developed by ICMR-NIV, Pune will play a critical role in surveillance of the proportion of population exposed to SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus infection.”

ICMR has partnered with Zydus Cadila for mass scale production of the ELISA test kits. After development at ICMR-NIV, Pune, technology has been transferred for mass scale production to Zydus Cadila. Zydus has proactively taken up the challenge to expedite the approvals and commercial production of the ELISA test kits so that they can be made available for use at the earliest. The test is named as ‘COVID KAVACH ELISA’.

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