Tata Group launches COVID-19 test kits that detect results within 90 minutes
- The new nasal swab test is called Called TataMD Check
- It has been developed by Tata’s healthcare arm, Tata Medical and Diagnostics, and the government
- It will be available for purchase at hospitals and laboratories from December
The Tata Group on Monday launched a new COVID-19 test kit, which it said will detect the infection much faster than the standard RT-PCR tests currently the gold standard for testing.
The new nasal swab test, developed by Tata in collaboration with the government, is also much more accurate than the rapid antigen test used by the government, news agency Reuters quoted the ministry of science and technology saying in September.
Tata’s healthcare arm, Tata Medical and Diagnostics, will initially commence manufacturing around a million kits per month at its Chennai plant before scaling up production, CEO Girish Krishnamurthy told Reuters.
Called TataMD Check, the test can return results within 90 minutes and will be available for purchase at hospitals and laboratories from December, with Krishnamurthy saying the company was initially focusing on the home market.
“You don't need big, expensive equipment to do the test, so it becomes more accessible and available, and more labs can start testing,” Krishnamurthy said, adding that the process primarily relies on artificial intelligence and automation.
India is the second worst-hit country in the world in terms of the total coronavirus caseload, behind only the United States. The country’s total caseload reached 85,53,657 with 45,903 new infections being reported on Monday. The US has over 10 million cases.
India conducts more than a million tests everyday, although 60% of them are done using the rapid antigen tests, which is faster but inaccurate, typically detecting the virus around 80% to 90% of the time.
And with India wanting to increase testing to over 1.5 million a day, experts have warned the reliance on rapid antigen tests may result in gross under-reporting of confirmed cases.
Rapid antigen tests turn in results within 15 minutes, compared to hours taken for the RT-PCR or the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test.
Krishnamurthy said his company is hoping their test can become the new standard in testing.