Wuhan virus: IIT Delhi becomes first educational institution in country to develop Covid-19 test kit

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New Delhi, 24 April: Researchers and students of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi have designed a very economical testing kit for novel coronavirus disease infection (Covid-19).

 Also, IIT Delhi has become the first educational institute in the country to manufacture kits for testing of coranavirus infection.

Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank met and congratulated the IIT team on Friday.

IIT Delhi Director Professor Ram Gopal Rao told the Minister of Human Resources that the team at Kusuma School of Biological Sciences has prepared a corona testing kit, which has been approved by the ICMR. These PCR-based kits will be cheaper than other testing kits, the results of tests done by it will also come quickly and also the accuracy of its results will be higher.

Union Minister Nishank also praised this effort by the IIT Director and his team and congratulated the country for making an important contribution in the ongoing war against corona.

He said that he is happy that IIT Delhi has made this kit for the people of India at a very low cost. It is inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for ‘Make in India’. I thank Health Minister Harsh Vardhan for the efforts of ICMR that he approved the technology and research.

The Union Minister further said that IIT Delhi has not only helped the country in a crucial battle but has also presented an example for other institutions as well. Educational institutions across the country should go ahead and do such research. With this, our institutions will not only register their participation in freeing the country from this highly contagious pathogen, but will also contribute to nation building.

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi have developed a web-based dashboard for predicting the spread of Covid-19 in India. This mobile friendly dashboard, named PRACRITI (PRediction and Assessment of CoRona Infections and Transmission in India, http://pracriti.iitd.ac.in) gives state-wise and district-wise detailed predictions of COVID-19 cases in India. Estimates are given for a period of three weeks, which are updated on a weekly basis.

Researchers believe that such a platform would be highly useful for health bodies, local and central authorities. This will help them in efficiently making plans for various future scenarios and in the proper allocation of resources. An important standard related to Covid-19 is the basic reproduction number R0 and its nationwide variability. R0 refers to the number of people who can get an infection from an infected person. For example, if an active Covid-19 patient infects two uninfected individuals, R0 is two. Hence the reduction of R0 is a measure to control and reduce Covid-19 in India.

PRACRITI based on data available from sources such as Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and World Health Organization (WHO), Government of India provides a value of R0 for each state and district in India.

This dashboard has been developed under the leadership of Professor M. Anoop Krishnan, in collaboration with Professor Hariprasad Kodamana, a team of some self-motivated students from IIT Delhi Hargun Singh, Ravindra, Devansh Agarwal, Dr. Amreen Jan, Suresh and Saurabh Singh.

Professor of Civil Engineering Department of IIT Delhi N. M. Anoop Krishnan said obtaining district-wise R0 is very important as it will enable the authorities to know the exact rate of prevalence of Covid-19 in India locally.