The Virus Detector | Prasiddhi Bhandari and Swathy Sridharan
The challenge: Diarrhoea caused by rotavirus kills nearly 80,000 children each year in India.
The journey: Prasiddhi Bhandari and Swathy Sridharan have worked on a fluid chip that can be used as a test for viruses. “A piece of silk is coated with antibodies for the rotavirus that causes diarrhoea. When a drop of stool containing the virus is sprinkled on it, the antibody binds to the virus and leads to a colour change because of the chemicals present,” says Dr Dhananjay Dendukuri, CEO of Achira Labs in Bangalore.
The test can be used to differentiate between viral and bacterial diarrhoea and avoid unnecessary antibiotics. It can also find out which kids have been vaccinated against diarrhoea and the ones that have not been.
“We have collaborated with Dr C Durga Rao, Department of Biochemistry at the Indian Institute of Science,” says Dhananjay.
Dr Mohan Rao, the Clinical Operations Director informs, “We are working towards lowering costs for such tests as people living in tier II and III cities cannot afford costly tests. We would have liked to price tests at Rs 30-40. Clinical validations are still going on and it has been a total team effort down the years.”