The ICMR approves use of Truenat, a Tuberculosis testing device, for COVID-19 screening

In India, around 7,600 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus (official name: SARS-CoV-2) so far.

Myupchar April 11, 2020 13:18:00 IST
content powered by
The ICMR approves use of Truenat, a Tuberculosis testing device, for COVID-19 screening

The number of cases of COVID-19 has been rapidly increasing across the globe; as of 11th April, more than 1.7 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 . In India, around 7,600 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus (official name: SARS-CoV-2) so far. Naturally, as the number of cases is increasing, the need for testing kits is rising as well.  

The ICMR approves use of Truenat a Tuberculosis testing device for COVID19 screening

Representational image. Image by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pixabay.

To cope with the shortage of testing kits in India, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has authorised the use of a testing Tuberculosis device, Truenat beta CoV at the Truelab workstation, for detecting COVID-19 infection in people. 

They added that the nasal and oral swabs would be collected in a viral transport medium (a liquid that helps preserve the virus) which would have a virus lysis buffer (a solution that neutralises some viruses) along with the testing kit.

In previous research, it was seen that the virus lysis buffer was able to neutralize various viruses such as Nipah and H1N1 viruses. The scientists of ICMR National Institute of Virology, Pune are testing to see if the viral lysis buffer could neutralize the RNA of SARS-CoV-2. The results of the testing are still awaited but meanwhile, Truenat beta CoV test would be performed with all the biosafety measures in Biosafety Level-2 (BSL-2) or Biosafety Level-3 (BSL-3) setups at the assigned laboratories. 

What is ‘Truenat’?

Truenat was developed by the Indian firm MolBio Diagnostics Pvt Ltd Goa for the detection of TB bacteria. It was not only used for rapid detection of TB bacteria but also helped in detecting the bacteria which was resistant to rifampicin (an antibiotic used to treat TB), which is also known as drug-resistant TB bacteria.

How would ‘Truenat’ detect COVID-19 virus?

The Truenat test detects the TB bacteria with the help of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique. When the test is done for TB, sputum samples are taken from the patient. The device finds the DNA which is specific to the TB bacteria. After detection, with the help of PCR, small segments of DNA are replicated and then sent to different labs for further analysis. This process takes around 25-35 minutes.

However, in the case of drug-resistant TB bacteria with any resistance to rifampicin, the detection is done by doing a second RT-PCR (Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction). RTPCR takes 1 hour to completely detect the viral DNA.

For more information, read our article on TB and COVID-19 .

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

Updated Date:

also read

India Open badminton tournament postponed indefinitely after recent COVID-19 surge
Sports

India Open badminton tournament postponed indefinitely after recent COVID-19 surge

The India Open badminton tournament, slated to be held at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in New Delhi from 11-16 May, has been postponed owing to rising COVID-19 cases in the city, BAI announced on Monday.

India records 1,68,912 COVID-19 cases in 24 hours; recovery rate falls below 90%
India

India records 1,68,912 COVID-19 cases in 24 hours; recovery rate falls below 90%

Active coronavirus cases have surpassed the 12 lakh mark, while the death toll increased to 1,70,179 with 904 new fatalities

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Krishna Poonia hospitalised after testing positive for COVID-19
Sports

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Krishna Poonia hospitalised after testing positive for COVID-19

Krishna, who became the first Indian woman to bag an individual gold in the CWG by winning the discus throw event in the 2010 Delhi Games, is now admitted at the Rajasthan University of Health Sciences hospital.