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RT-PCR test: NEERI develops a simple and rapid method of collecting and processing swabs | India News


NEW DELHI: The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) has developed a simple and rapid method of collecting and processing swabs for the RT-PCR coronavirus test that could be used in rural and tribal areas.
The method is simple, fast, cost-effective, patient-friendly and comfortable, said the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). NEERI, based in Nagpur, is a constituent laboratory of the CSIR.
It is suitable for rural and tribal areas, given minimal infrastructure requirements, the CSIR said.
Krishna Khairnar, lead scientist at NEERI’s Environmental Virology Cell, said that the swab collection method takes time. Also, being an invasive technique, it is a bit uncomfortable for patients.
“At some point, it also gets lost in the transport of the sample to the collection center. On the other hand, the Saline Gargle RT-PCR method is instant, comfortable, and patient-friendly. Sampling is done instantly and results will be generated. in three hours, “he said.
The method is non-invasive and so simple that a patient can collect the sample himself, Khairnar said.
Collection methods, such as collecting nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs, require technical expertise and are also time-consuming. In contrast, the saline gargle RT-PCR method uses a simple collection tube filled with saline, he said.
The patient gargles the solution and flushes it into the tube. This sample in the collection tube is taken to the laboratory where it is kept at room temperature, in a special buffer solution prepared by NEERI.
An RNA template is produced when this solution is heated, which is further processed for reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).
This particular method of sample collection and processing saves on the expensive infrastructure requirements of RNA extraction. The method is also environmentally friendly as waste generation is minimized, Khairnar said.
The Nagpur Municipal Corporation has given permission to go ahead with the method, after which testing began at NEERI, the CSIR said.

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