Saliva-based COVID-19 Test Kit
From the left, Dr. Mohan C Joshi, Dr. Tanveer Ahmad & Dr. Jawed Iqbal
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Saliva based COVID-19 Test Kit Developed by Jamia Millia Islamia

Researchers from Jamia Millia Islamia have developed CASSPIT (Cas13 Associated Saliva-
based & Smartphone Integrated Testing), India’s first RNA extraction free saliva-
based detection kit for COVID-19 that gives results within an hour. CASSPIT utilizes the most sensitive and specific CRISPR-Cas system for the diagnostics. When tested on more than 100 clinical samples CASSPIT results were comparable with the RT-qPCR based data. CASSPIT application is part of the MI-SEHAT platform which is a highly tunable and upgradable smartphone integrated diagnostic platform.

Lead researchers from MCARS, Jamia Millia Islamia, Dr. Tanveer Ahmad, Dr. Mohan
Joshi & Dr. Jawed Iqbal described this as a game-changer in healthcare and diagnostics in India. CASSPIT will be the first step toward developing a home-based point of care (POC) testing for COVID-19.

From the left, Dr. Mohan C Joshi, Dr. Tanveer Ahmad & Dr. Jawed Iqbal

Dr. Ahmad said that the limitation with the previous COVID-19 test kits was that they
required an RNA extraction step and a laboratory setup equipped with a PCR machine. Whereas CASSPIT is completely extensive instrument-free and does not need any laboratory set-up to perform the test. That means this test can also

be conducted in the home setting. Saliva based COVID-19 testing has been approved by the USA FDA, while such testing is currently not approved in India. The researchers are optimistic to get quick approval from competent authorities for saliva-based COVID-19 testing considering that saliva samples are easy to collect, does not incur any discomfort to the patient, and has detection sensitivity on par with the invasive swab samples.

The other team members involved in this technology are Dr. Rohit Kumar from Safdarjung
Hospital and Dr. Gagandeep Jhingan. The research scholars Iqbal Azmi and Md. Imam Faizan has performed the experiments. This research work is in the public domain and currently available at www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.11.07.20227082v1.

The researcher said that there are many companies who have shown interest in this technology and currently we are working on the technology transfer process. We are hopeful that very soon this kit to be available in the market for COVID-19 testing.

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