ICMR approves Hyderabad-based firm’s Covid-19 test kits

The real-time PCR kits to enable healthcare workers get results in two-and-a-half hours; IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao congratulates the company

Published: 12th April 2020 12:46 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th April 2020 12:46 PM   |  A+A-

A healthcare worker collects swab sample of a person for COVID-19 test during the nationwide lockdown at Mazgaon Area in Mumbai

A healthcare worker collects swab sample of a person for COVID-19 test during the nationwide lockdown. (Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: The Hyderabad-based company, HUWEL Life Sciences, has received the Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) approval for its real-time PCR Covid-19 testing kits that would provide results in just two-and-a-half hours. The company, at present, has 20,000 Quanti-plus kits in stock that the Telangana government has planned on acquiring. IT Minister KT Rama Rao congratulated them on the ICMR approval on Saturday.

Speaking to Express, Dr Shishir Kumar, managing director of the company, said, “We started developing the Covid-19 kit in January. It took us close to 15 days to develop it. However, the validation process took slightly longer. We received the approval from the Central government and the ICMR within 20 days. Currently, we have 20,000 kits and will be pricing them for buyers at `1,200 per kit.” 

“The real-time PCR kits will enable healthcare workers to get results in two hours and 30 minutes. While the test can detect different forms of Coronavirus, it has been specifically designed for Covid-19. The company also manufactures test kits for other viral infections such as dengue, chikungunya and others,” added Dr Kumar.  

The company, which was established in 2018 with close to 20 employees, plans to scale up its production. However, they are struggling to acquire necessary components due to the lockdown. “The scale-up would solely depend on the raw-material availability in the country, as we are unable to import due to the lockdown. We manufacture most of the components and enzymes in-house.

The problem arises with a particular component called primers and probes, which is usually imported. In India, there’s only one manufacturer for the same; they are, however, overburdened with orders, currently,” explained Dr Kumar.  Additionally the company is also looking to the government for help in tackling this crisis. They are hoping the government would permit cargo flights from European countries into the country so that they can import and stock up on required raw materials.


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