What’s in the news?
- Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan recently said that the ministry will soon roll out the FELUDA paper strip test for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis.
About the test
- The test has been developed by CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) and has been approved by the Drug Controller General of India for a commercial launch. The test showed 96% sensitivity and 98% specificity.
- FELUDA is an acronym for FNCAS9 Editor-Limited Uniform Detection Assay. It uses CRISPR-Cas technology (Refer Health section) for the detection of genes specific to SARS-CoV-2 virus.
- In this method, a protein called FnCas9 and a guide RNA(gRNA) which helps in recognising the viral genes is used.
- If the patient sample has the viral gene, this gRNA-FnCas9 complex binds to the gene and using a paper strip this binding can be visualised.
Need for using this test
- With FELUDA, the need for technical expertise is minimal and no requirement of expensive equipment, making it an easy to perform, point of care test. It thus saves space, time and money.
- Whereas RT- PCR test equipment and reagents are costly and a technical expertise is needed.
- In medical diagnosis, test sensitivity is the ability of a test to correctly identify those with the disease (true positive rate), whereas test specificity is the ability of the test to correctly identify those without the disease (true negative rate).