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Kerala-based TCM rolls out branded RT-PCR test kits

IANS | October 21, 2020 04:52 PM

KOCHI:Kochi-based TCM Ltd, a chemical manufacturer till recently, has rolled out on a commercial basis 'Covi-DetecT' brand RT-PCR test kits based on technology developed by IIT-Delhi, the company head said on Wednesday.

TCM Ltd is among six companies chosen by IIT-Delhi nationwide to manufacture the much-awaited Covid test kits.

TCM Ltd Managing Director Joseph Varghese said 'Covi-DetecT' has thus become the first and the only company in Kerala to manufacture Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction test kits.

Their fully equipped unit in Kinfra Biotechnology and Industrial Zone here has already reached manufacturing capacity of 10, 000 test kits per day and will increase it to 50, 000 test kits per day in a week's time.

"Kerala is fully dependent on supplies from other states for Covid tests, which normally take 48 to 72 hours, some time even more, to reach the state through dry ice- pack journey.

"But we will be able to deliver the Kerala-made kits within 4-5 hours anywhere across the state. Covid 19 (RT-PCR) test kits are to be kept under minus 20 degress Celsius at all times and any variation will affect the quality. Also, local labs do not need to stock the test kits in large quantities now, as they are available now in close proximity, " said Varghese.

Presently, Kerala's daily Covid tests number between 40, 000 and 50, 000 as against a national average of over 1 million tests per day.

"The aim should be to increase the number of tests done at government laboratories and hospitals at affordable costs and maximum reachability. We are ready to sell 'Covi-DetecT' to government at near-cost price, " the company MD added.

Manju Abraham, Chief Scientific Officer, TCM Healthcare Pvt Ltd, a fully-owned subsidiary of TCM Ltd, said that the RT-PCR assay developed by IIT-Delhi is by far the surest method available in India as it identifies the presence of coronavirus by analysing RNA coding for spike glycoprotein, a protein expressed on the virus surface.

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