Feluda: DCGI approves the commercial launch of India's first CRISPER COVID-19 test

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on September 19, 2020, approved the commercial launch of ‘Feluda’, the TATA CRISPER (Clustered Regulatory Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) COVID-19 test. The news was shared by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines, the test has met the high-quality benchmarks with 96% sensitivity and 98% specificity for detecting the Coronavirus.

The TATA CRISPER test will be the world’s first diagnostic test to deploy a specially adapted Ca9 protein for successfully detecting the virus that causes COVID-19.

India’s first CRISPR Covid-19 test FELUDA, developed by @IGIBSocial and @TataGroup has been approved for use in India by @DCGI. Congratulations to the entire team! @PMOIndia @drharshvardhan @PrinSciAdvGoI @shekhar_mande @ICMRDELHI @AnuragAgrawalMD @Debojyo04532898

— CSIR (@CSIR_IND) September 19, 2020

Significance of TATA CRISPER test

The TATA CRISPER test will be achieving the accuracy levels of traditional RT-PCR tests with quicker turnaround time, better ease of use, and less expensive equipment. Moreover, CRISPER is also a futuristic technology that can also be configured for the detection of multiple other pathogens in the future.

This has also marked a significant achievement for the Indian Scientific Community, moving from Research and Development to a high-accuracy, scalable, and reliable test in less than 100 days.

Key Highlights:

The TATA CRSISPER technology has been developed by CSIR-IGIB (Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology).

The TATA group had worked closely with ICMR and CSIR-IGIB to create a high-quality test that will be helping the nation ramp up COVID-19 testing quickly and economically, with a ‘Made in India’ test that is reliable, safe, affordable, and accessible.

The approval for the TATA CRISPER test for the COVID-19 test will be giving a boost to the country’s efforts in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is TATA CRISPER test and how does it work?

According to CSIR, the TATA CRISPER test uses an indigenously developed, cutting-edge CRISPER technology for the detection of the genomic sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. CRISPER is a genome editing technology to diagnose diseases.

According to Anurag Aggarwal, Director, CSIR-IGIB, the work started by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) under the sickle cell mission for the genome diagnostics and therapeutics led to a new knowledge that can be harnessed to quickly develop the new diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2.

Potential of Research & Development in India:

Girish Krishnamurthy, CEO, TATA Medical and Diagnostic Ltd, while commenting on the development stated that the commercialization of the TATA CRISPER test has been reflecting the tremendous R&D potential in the country which can collaborate for transforming India’s collaboration to the global healthcare and scientific research world.

As per Anurag Aggarwal, Director, CSIR-IGIB, the development has shown the interconnectedness of scientific knowledge and technology and the innovation of the young research team led by Souvik Maiti and Debojyoti Chakraborty.

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