Syllabus section: Science & Technology.


Why in news?

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved the “dry swab-direct RT-PCR testing method” to test the COVID-19 virus. It has been developed by CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB). This developed method is a simple variation of the conventional gold standard RT-PCR method.

What is Dry swab-direct RT-PCR testing method?

• The dry swab-direct RT-PCR testing method is a RNA-extraction free testing method to test for the COVID-19 virus.

• This method has been developed with an aim of scaling up the testing by two to three fold. It does not require new investment of resources.

• The method has a less cost and has a quick turn-around time. This method involves the collection and transportation of the nasal swab in its dry state. Thus, its transportation and handling is easy and less prone to spread of infection.

Need for its development

• The CSIR-CCMB is involved in testing samples for corona virus since April 2020. It recently identified some of the key issues in the convectional testing process that slow the testing process.

• In order to make the corona virus testing process fast and simple, they developed the dry swab testing method.

• In the conventional testing method, the samples of nasopharyngeal or Oro pharyngeal swab samples are collected and transported to the testing centres. They are transported to hundreds of kilometers away.

• These samples are placed in the liquid called the Viral Transport Medium (VTM).  These samples are packed heavily to avoid the leakage. This further increases the sSample processing times at the sample collection as well as the testing centres.

About CSIR

• Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is the largest research and development (R&D) organization in India. CSIR has a pan-India presence and has a dynamic network of 38 national laboratories, 39 outreach centres, 3 Innovation Complexes and 5 units.

• Established on September 1942 & Located in New Delhi.

• CSIR is funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology and it operates as an autonomous body through the Societies Registration Act, 1860.

• CSIR covers a wide spectrum of streams – from radio and space physics, oceanography, geophysics, chemicals, drugs, genomics, biotechnology and nanotechnology to mining, aeronautics, instrumentation, environmental engineering and information technology.

It provides significant technological intervention in many areas with regard to societal efforts which include the environment, health, drinking water, food, housing, energy,farm and non-farm sectors.


Source: The Hindu.