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Hyderabad: Meril manufactures commercial kits for CCMB’s Dry Swab Direct RT-PCR tests

Hyderabad: A simple and fast method of Dry Swab-based Direct RT-PCR has been developed by CSIR’s constituent lab Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad. It has been approved by ICMR based on their independent validation. This method is a simple variation of the existing gold standard RT-PCR method and can easily scale up the testing by 2 to 3-fold with no new investment of resources.

Dr Vinay Nandicoori, Director, CSIR-CCMB says, “In this method, one can simply break open the cells by using a buffer solution and use them for RT-PCR directly. There is no need for separate steps of RNA extraction and purification.”

Dr Rakesh Mishra, Advisor, CSIR-CCMB adds, “RNA extraction, even with automation, takes 4 hours for roughly 500 samples. Viral Transport Medium (VTM) and RNA extraction both add a significant burden on money and time required for mass testing for coronavirus. We believe this method has the potential of bringing the costs and time of testing by 40-50% in all kinds of settings.”

CSIR-CCMB has tied up with Meril Diagnostics, for commercially scaling up the Dry Swab-based tests across diagnostic labs in the country. Meril’s Extraction-free Dry Swab Kit can be used to isolate the viral RNA from dry swab samples. These isolates can then be directly used for RT-PCR.

“We are the first company to commercially launch the dry swab kit. We truly believe the use case for the dry swab collection sample technique is very large. It is imperative in these times to get a quick RT-PCR result and this method helps in doing so by eliminating the lengthy RNA extraction process. We believe this will help scale testing in India, and help government and private labs in reducing their turn around time. This is the need of the hour”, says Sanjeev Bhatt, Vice President – Corporate Strategy, Meril.

Meril is currently equipped to manufacture 2 crore kits a month. Each kit suffices for 100 tests. Using these kits, each test will cost between Rs 45-60.

About CSIR-CCMB: The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology or CCMB is an Indian fundamental life science research establishment located in Hyderabad that operates under the aegis of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

About Meril Life Sciences: Founded in 2007, Meril is an Indian origin, global medical device company that is dedicated to the innovation, design and development of novel, clinically relevant and state-of-the-art devices. Our fundamental aim is to champion the alleviation of human suffering and improve quality of life. To enable this, we are committed to R&D, innovation in manufacturing medical technology, scientific communication, and contemporary distribution avenues.

Meril was born with the aim of improving the quality of human life through innovative and advanced healthcare solutions. As a medical device manufacturer, we exist to improve the inventiveness in healthcare so that people’s lives are enriched. We continually seek excellence in providing answers to some of medicine’s toughest questions.

Meril manufactures medical solutions in the form of vascular intervention devices, structural heart devices, orthopaedic implants, endo-surgery, ENT products & in-vitro diagnostics. It is our core commitment to ensure the delivery of advance healthcare solutions. Our inclination towards research and development is reflected in our diverse offerings. We ensure that we adhere to the best quality of standards in manufacturing, scientific communication and distribution to deliver path-breaking healthcare products to the world.

Meril has been at the forefront of fighting the ongoing pandemic and already has a range of technologies within its COVID-19 test kits such as – MeriScreen Covid-19 Antigen Detection Kit, One-Step Covid-19 RT-PCR Kit, Viral Transport Medium Kit, Merilisa Covid-19 Neutralizing Antibody ELISA Kit, Meril RNA Extraction Kit, MeriScreen Covid-19 Neutralizing Antibody Rapid Test.

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