COVID19 Updates: Tata Group to unveil India’s first CRISPR test

CRISPR test for Coronavirus

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In News:

  • CSIR’s Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, along with the Tata Group, has developed a new test to detect SARS-CoV-2 virus (that causes Covid-19).
  • The test named Feluda uses the cutting-edge CRISPR gene-editing technology.

News Summary:

  • CSIR’s Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), along with the Tata Group, has developed a new paper-strip based test to detect SARS-CoV-2 virus (that causes Covid-19).
  • The test named Feluda, using the cutting-edge CRISPR gene-editing technology, can detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus accurately, cheaply and quickly (in two hours).
  • Feluda is the acronym for FNCAS9 Editor Linked Uniform Detection Assay.
  • It is similar to a pregnancy test, containing a strip of paper that changes colour on detection of virus in the sample.

How it works?

  • It uses indigenously developed CRISPR gene-editing technology to identify and target the genetic material of SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
  • It deploys a specially adapted Cas9 protein to successfully detect the virus causing Covid-19.
  • The Cas9 protein is barcoded to interact with the SARS-CoV2 sequence in the patient’s genetic material.
  • The Cas9-SARS-CoV2 complex is then put on the paper strip, where using two lines (one control, one test) makes it possible to determine if the test sample was infected with Covid-19.

Highly accurate:

  • The union ministry of science and technology said the test has 96% sensitivity (ability of a test to correctly identify those with the disease or true positive rate) and 98% specificity (ability of the test to correctly identify those without the disease – true negative rate) for detecting the novel coronavirus.
  • The test matches accuracy levels of RT-PCR tests, considered the gold standard in the diagnosis of Covid-19, has a quicker turnaround time and requires less expensive equipment.
  • The test has got the approval for commercial launch from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).

Way ahead:

  • Accuracy shows by the test in lab settings is better than antigen-based kits, but has to be checked in a clinical setting.
  • Approval for this Tata CRISPR test for Covid-19 will give a boost to the country’s efforts in fighting Covid.

About: Gene Editing

  • Gene editing (also called genome editing) is a method that give scientists the ability to change the DNA of an organism.
  • Gene editing involves genetic material to be added, removed, or altered at particular locations in the genome. These edits are made to ensure that intended characteristics can be brought about in the genome.
  • Several approaches to genome editing have been developed, with the most recent and exciting technology known as CRISPR-Cas9.
  • Gene Editing enable disabling of faulty genes, correcting a harmful mutation, inserting a missing gene or changing the activity of specific genes in living organisms.
CRISPR test for Coronavirus

About: CRISPR

  • CRISPR stands for “Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats”.
  • It is a unique technology that enables geneticists and medical researchers to edit parts of the genome by removing, adding or altering sections of the DNA sequence.
  • It is currently the simplest, most versatile and precise method of genetic manipulation.
  • An enzyme called Cas9 acts as a pair of ‘molecular scissors’ that can cut the two strands of DNA at a specific location in the genome so that bits of DNA can then be added or removed.
  • Some bacteria have a similar, built-in, gene editing system to the CRISPR-Cas9 system.
  • Scientists adapted this system so that it could be used in other cells from animals, including mice and humans.
  • Its many potential applications include correcting genetic defects, treating and preventing the spread of diseases and improving crops. 
CRISPR test for Coronavirus
CRISPR test for Coronavirus
CRISPR test for Coronavirus

Also Read: COVID19 Updates: How India tests for Covid-19?, At what stage are under-trial vaccine candidates in India?

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