Tata Sons to help make 'Feluda'
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Tata Sons to help CSIR make ‘Feluda’

Tata Sons have signed a memorandum of comprehending with the CSIR for the ‘licensing of knowhow’ and help make a paper test kit for COVID-19, named ‘Feluda’, which might make the mass screening.

The kit is developed by the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), New Delhi- CSIR’s constituent laboratory, and the kit is called FNCAS9 Editor Linked Uniform Detection Assay or ‘Feluda’, after the imaginary detective developed by Bengali filmmaker and author Satyajit Ray.

The “transfer of the knowledge for scaling up the know-how in the form of a kit” shall be included in the license, that can be released for COVID-19 testing on the ground as early as the end of May.

“We are happy to participate in a collaboration with IGIB-CSIR for additional development and commercialization of CRISPR-based technology for COVID-19 detection,” said Banmali Agrawala, President, Infrastructure and Defence & Aerospace, Tata Sons.

” It utilizes a test method that is simple to carry out as well as very easy to analyze, making it possible for results to be made available to the clinical fraternity in relatively minimal time, as compared to various other testings methods. Our team believes

that CRISPR is an advanced technology that can additionally be set up for the detection of various other pathogens in such situations”

“CSIR labs like CSIR-IGIB have been working on deep science as well as developing cutting edge technology and I am happy to see that the Tata team is collaborating towards its deployment,” said Shekhar Mande, Director General, CSIR.

About ‘Feluda’

This test strip – ‘Feluda’ was invented at CSIR-IGIB by a team led by 2 Bengali-origin researchers – Dr. Souvik Maiti and Dr. Debojyoti Chakraborty.

The testing costs of COVID-19 can be decreased with this simple paper-based test strip – the RT-PCR presently used needs equipment worth lakhs of rupees and also its rate is capped at Rs 4,500 in private labs, however, the ‘Feluda’ test might cost you just Rs 500.
The kit can be used like pregnancy test strips extensively available.
Mande said, “This strip changes its color to show the results, and can be used in a normal pathological lab. It will be 100% accurate which is the most integral part”.
“Just like Feluda” in Satyajit Ray’s stories and films, the kit would certainly detect the presence of the novel coronavirus in just minutes”, said Dr. Chakraborty.
He added, “For the past two years, we were experimenting on sickle cell anemia. We began to experiment on coronavirus when COVID-19 instances climbed in China to see how anomalies take place in the coronavirus. We have been working 20 hrs a day for the last two months to develop it”.
The ‘Feluda’ kit uses CRISPR gene-editing technology to obtain outcomes. This technology recognizes specific genetic sequences as well as cuts them in a short time, said Mande and Chakraborty.
Mande said, “The strip targets and determines the genomic sequence of the novel coronavirus in suspected people using cutting-edge gene-editing CRISPR-CAS-9 technology. No other Indian lab is using CRISPR technology to develop COVID-19 test kit“.
“A few other labs have been developing testing kits, yet they are greatly based on PCR technology, which is costly comparatively. Our paper strip does not require any type of ‘level 2’ or ‘level 3’ lab to test, and can be done in any simple pathological laboratory“.
Author: Sruthi S