FELUDA paper test for COVID-19 will be commercially made available in laboratories by the end of this month. This paper test has been developed by a team of scientists from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) institute. Shekhar Mande, the director-general of CSIR, informed that all the formalities are over and the test would be made available soon this month.
FELUDA test which is named after Satyajit Ray's fictional detective will be cheaper, faster and more reliable than the expensive RT-PCR diagnosis, say scientists. The team that developed the test believes that this test might replace antigen tests soon, since it is cheaper and more specific.
FELUDA which is the acronym for FNCAS9 Editor-Limited Uniform Detection Assay will be the world's first paper-based COVID-19 test available in the market. The test that will cost under Rs.500 will show the results within an hour. Unlike antigen tests, FELUDA uses CRISPR, a genome-editing tool which raises the specificity of the tests in detecting the virus to 98%.
The paper when dipped in a chemical solution will change its colour upon detection of a virus similar to a pregnancy strip test. Two blue lines would show a positive result and a single line meaning negative. However, the test isn't in that stage yet to be done from home without an intervening lab.
COVID-19 confirmed cases crossed 7 million in India recently, with many laboratories testing around one million samples a day. Upon, commercialization of FELUDA, it would meet India's increasing testing needs.