New Delhi: At a time when the country is busy developing vaccine for the deadly coronavirus, scientists are of opinion that India’s CRISPR Feluda’ COVID-19 test that changes colour on detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus could be a cheaper, faster and simpler alternative to an RT-PCR diagnosis. They also state that it is more accurate than a rapid antigen test.Also Read - Will CBSE, CISCE Postpone 2021 Board Exams? Check Out Officials Statements

Named after Satyajit Ray’s famed detective, the Feluda test, which is priced at Rs 500 and can deliver a result in 45 minutes, is able to differentiate SARS-CoV-2 from other coronaviruses even if genetic variations between them are minute. Also Read - Retest Mandatory For Symptomatic Patients Who Are Negative in Antigen Test: Centre Tells States

Developed by the New Delhi-based CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) and the TATA Group, the Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) Feluda test has received regulatory approvals last week from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for commercial launch.

As per updates, the test meets high quality benchmarks with 96 per cent sensitivity and 98 per cent specificity for detecting the novel coronavirus. Similar to a pregnancy strip test, Feluda changes colour if the virus is detected and doesn’t need expensive machines for detection.

The test can help the country, with the world’s second highest cases of COVID-19 at 60.74 lakh cases, ramp up testing of the disease quickly and economically, the researchers behind the test said in a statement.

FELUDA, an acronym for the FNCAS9 Editor-Limited Uniform Detection Assay, uses an indigenously developed, cutting-edge CRISPR technology for detection of the genomic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 virus, the scientists said.

CRISPR is a gene editing technology and is used in correcting genetic defects and treating and preventing the spread of diseases.

The technology can detect specific sequences of DNA within a gene, and uses an enzyme functioning as molecular scissors to snip it.

(With inputs from PTI)