A major project was launched to indigenously manufacture bulk quantities of all reagents needed for RT-qPCR-based and other molecular methods of diagnostics of COVID-19 at lower costs. India scaled-up testing rapidly and widely across its population. Considering the nature of the virus, its mode of transmission, the best way to check the spread of the infection, when a vaccine was still not available, was by testing a larger number of individuals and isolating the positive cases. In this context, there was an urgent need to scale up the production of RT-PCR and other molecular diagnostic testing kits in the country.
The project called Indigenisation of Diagnostics (InDx), anchored at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (CCAMP), aimed to build a robust supply-chain network of Indian MSMEs capable of producing reagents required in a testing kit as well as manufacturing them. The project involved identifying bottlenecks in the supply-chain network, short-falls in quality levels, and gaps in the ability of these MSMEs to scale-up. The project would handhold MSMEs in meeting both quality and quantity such that the network would be able to put together a million indigenous kits a day. The project employs a dynamic digital supply-chain platform developed pro-bono by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
An excerpt from the story
“Expanding access to Covid-19 testing, especially among high-risk populations, is critical to safeguarding the health of Indians,” said Prof. K VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific [Adviser] to the Government of India. “With support from The Rockefeller Foundation, research institutes will be able to support MSMEs to manufacture high quality, yet low-cost molecular diagnostics that meet global standards. These collaborations will not only help to solve a critical domestic challenge, provide for import [substitution] but will also enable India to better contribute to the global Covid-19 response.”
An excerpt from the story
“One project with potential to boost translational science is InDx, which aims to make Indian firms self-sufficient at developing reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests, the gold standard for COVID-19 diagnosis. Until now, most companies have relied on imports and reverse engineering for molecular diagnostic kits, says Taslimarif Saiyed, who heads the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms, the government-funded institute coordinating InDx. In July, with a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation in New York, InDx began guiding more than 70 Indian companies through developing their own tests, including making reagents locally. More than 20 companies have so far had their kits licensed for commercial use.”