Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has designed an indigenous antibody detection kit named ‘DIPCOVAN’. It is a DIPAS-VDx COVID-19 IgG Antibody Microwell ELISA drafted for sero-surveillance, which provides an estimate of antibody levels against infectious diseases. The kit has the ability to detect both spikes as well as nucleocapsid (S&N) proteins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus with a specificity of 99 per cent and sensitivity of 97 per cent. The kit is developed in collaboration with New Delhi’s development and manufacturing diagnostics company, Vanguard Diagnostics Pvt Ltd.
This kit was developed indigenously with the help of extensive validation. During the preparation of the kit, more than 1,000 patient samples were collected at various COVID designated hospitals in Delhi. Around 3 batches of the kit were authenticated during the last year.
So far, the kit has received approval from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. These approvals are provided to ‘DIPCOVAN’ so that It can be manufactured for the purpose of sale and distribution.
Significance of ‘DIPCOVAN’
It aims at understanding COVID‐19 epidemiology and assessing an individual’s previous SARS‐CoV‐2 exposure. The kit is developed for the qualitative detection of IgG antibodies in human serum or plasma, targeting SARS-CoV-2 related antigens. The kit possesses a shelf life of 18 months and has a faster turn-around time of just 75 minutes. It is quite beneficial in conducting the test without any cross-reactivity with other diseases.
It will be launched by Industry partner Vanguard Diagnostics Pvt. Ltd during the first week of June 2021. At the time of launch, the stock available will comprise 100 kits (approx. 10,000 tests) with a production capacity of 500 kits/month. It offers a minimal cost of just Rs 75 per test.