Gonoshasthaya Kendra claims developing coronavirus testing kit

Staff Correspondent | Published: 21:50, Mar 17,2020 | Updated: 16:03, Mar 18,2020


Gonoshasthaya-RNA Biotech Limited, a concern of Gonoshasthaya Kendra in Bangladesh, claims that it had developed a kit to test COVID-19.

The kit will cost around Tk 200 and could be marketed soon if the Directorate General of Drug Administration approves it, said Gonoshasthaya Kendra on Tuesday. 

Talking to New Age, Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Zafrullah Chowdhury said that the kit was developed by a team of Gonoshasthaya and Singapore.

‘We hope the kit will help  reduce the scarcity of the testing kits in our country,’ he said.

‘We applied for approval from DGDA and with their permission we will ready for production in one month,’ said Zafrullah, a noted public health expert and freedom fighter.

‘We hope to provide the diagnostic kit at a cost of Tk 200 to vendors or labs and the government should take regulatory measures so that common people can do the test within Tk 300,’ he said.

Gonoshasthaya Kendra said in a release that the standard method of diagnosis is by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) and confirmed by sequencing from a nasopharyngeal swab or sputum sample, with results within a few hours to two days.

Bangladesh has limited resources for these types of diagnostic techniques, which needs sophisticated laboratory set up and highly skilled manpower.

Another recognised diagnostic method is antibody assays (IgA, IgG and IgM immunoassay). This can also be used, using a blood serum sample, saliva and sputum, with results within a few minutes and to be confirmed by sequencing, Gonoshasthaya Kendra said.

Rapid Dot Blot and lateral flow immunoassay are an antibody assays technique, also a timely diagnostic approach, is used to detect COVID-19 suspected or infected patients at all level of health care system, Gonoshasthaya Kendra said.

These are standard, simple, rapid and cost-effective technique for COVID-19 diagnosis and can also be used in point of care setup, it added.

‘Internationally different countries had developed rapid diagnostic kits for their own population. The major concern is that the SARS-CoV-2 had changed its gene structure 384 times since the first appearance in November 2019,’ it added.

Whenever this mighty virus affected a new nation, it changes its gene structure to adopt the new environment and population. Thus, the diagnostic methods must be ethnic group specific, especially for this virus.

At this phase, Gonoshasthaya-RNA Biotech Limited, a concern of Gonoshasthaya Kendra is going to develop a kit to detect COVID-19 that will be standardised using QC samples collected from Bangladesh population, it said.

A high level skilled team of Gonoshasthaya-RNA Biotech Limited started working since February 2020 to design and develop the whole process of production. The whole team has direct experience in working in this technology, it said.

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