New Delhi: An “affordable” and “indigenous” Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kit for COVID-19 developed by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi was launched on Friday. While several RAT kits are available in the market, the “first fully indigenous” kit developed by IIT researchers is much more affordable and will be available for purchase at a cost of Rs 50.Also Read - COVID-19 Self Testing Kit CoviSelf To Be Available in Markets Soon. Check Price, How & When to Use

“This is a joint program of IIT and AIIMS, and we have labs at both places. COVID pandemic has been there in India for one and half years now. The best method of detection is RTPCR, but it requires time, and report arrives after a day or two. In RTPCR testing, the samples have to be sent to labs. People wanted a faster method that was self-testing kind or could be done at home for general population screening,” said Dr Harpal Singh, professor at the IIT-Delhi’s Centre for Biomedical Engineering. Also Read - IIT-Delhi's Method For COVID-19 Detection Approved by ICMR, Can Reduce Cost of Testing

“We developed both anti-body based and antigen-based rapid detection kits. Today, we have launched the rapid antigen-based detection kit. We are not the first one to come up with such kit, but in India, this is the first of its kind indigenous kit. Our kit is as good as the best available Korean option in the market. We will be selling the kit at a cost of Rs 50 per kit, which is quite cheaper than the Korean kit that is Rs 200,” he added.

Dr Singh said that IIT Delhi partnered with a Delhi-based company and the kit has now been approved by both ICMR and DGCI and will be available in the market soon.

Further, the professor informed that his team is also working on a one of its kind “long time active sanitiser”.

“We have also developed a sanitizer. It’s is an alcohol based sanitizer which will put a polymer coating on the hand. If any microbe touches the hand, it will be killed. the polymer layer is water insoluble and will not be removed till another sanitizer is applied on hand,’ he said.

He said the polymer layer contains “antimicrobial agents”.

“It’s a onetime application sanitizer. People don’t have to apply sanitizer multiple time a day. The coating remains till more than 30 washes. If this product goes to the industry, it will be first of its kind long time active sanitiser,” he added.

(With inputs for ANI)