KOCHI: Kochi-based TCM Healthcare, a fully-owned subsidiary of TCM Ltd, which used to be a chemicals manufacturer till recently, will start manufacturing Covid-19 test kits, developed by IIT-Delhi. TCM is among the seven companies chosen by IIT-Delhi nationwide to manufacture the much-awaited test kits. Joseph Varghese, managing director, TCM Ltd, said the company has identified four units across the country for the production to enable easy and effective distribution of the kits. The first unit to start the production will be the one in Kochi’s Kinfra Biotech Park, which is expected to roll out the first commercial batch by mid-August 2020.
“TCM will manufacture 500 units per day which can enable 50,000 tests, as one kit is for 100 tests,” Joseph Varghese said. He added that RT-PCR assay, developed by IIT Delhi, will be priced at Rs 399 only and even after adding the RNA isolation and laboratory charges, the cost per test will be considerably cheaper compared to currently available kits in the market, which is around Rs 4,500 per test now.
“The IIT-D developed kits are RT-PCR ones and they do not depend on imported fluorescent profiles, resulting in the cost difference,” he explained. The company is planning to market the product nationwide by tying up with a couple of leading pharmaceutical companies. “Talks with a few pharma companies are already on and we are about to strike a deal in the coming days,” Joseph Varghese said.