Sree Chitra develops swabs for collecting fluid for COVID test
Thiruvananthapuram: Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology developed an equipment to collect fluid from COVID suspects' throat and nose and the medium to store the collected fluid. COVID is confirmed when the presence of SARS-CoV 2 is traced from the amplified genes of the virus in the fluid test.
The quantity and quality of the virus RNA can be ensured only if the fluid is collected using specially designed swab and is stored in a suitable medium. These factors affect the accuracy of the test results. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in US recommended swabs made of artificial fibers and plastic shaft. Following this, Chitra EmBed flocked nylon swabs and Chitra EnMesh, polymeric foam-tipped, lint-free swabs were developed.
Both have flexible plastic shafts and are suitable for collecting fluid and storing in the appropriate medium, said Sree Chitra director Dr Asha Kishor. Virus RNA can be easily recovered from the fluid collected and stored with the help of these equipment. Sree Chitra handed over the technology of both types of swabs and the medium to store the fluid to the companies Mallelil Industries, Origin Diagnostics and Levram Lifesciences.
When the specially designed swab is used for collecting fluid, the discomfort caused to patients can be reduced. The kit containing 50 swabs and the medium costs Rs 12,000. When Sree Chitra's swab and medium reaches the market, the price is likely to drop. A team of biotechnologists including Dr Maya Nandakumar, Dr Linda and Dr Shiny developed the swab and medium.