Reliance Develops RT-PCR Kit That Can Give Covid-19 Results In Two Hours

Developed by scientists at Reliance Life Sciences, the kit has been validated by ICMR for satisfactory performance

A woman undergoes Covid-19 real-time PCR testing at a government-run dispensary in New Delhi. (Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg)
A woman undergoes Covid-19 real-time PCR testing at a government-run dispensary in New Delhi. (Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg)

Reliance Life Sciences has developed an RT-PCR kit that promises diagnosis of Covid-19 infection in about two hours, according to the company sources.

At present, RT-PCR test, which is a real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) test for the qualitative detection of nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2, takes up to 24 hours to give a diagnosis.

The company sources said that the computational biologists at Reliance Life Sciences, a subsidiary of billionaire Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance Industries Ltd, analysed more than 100 genomes of SARS-CoV-2 sequenced in India and designed unique RT-PCR primers for developing quantitative-Real Time PCR (RT-PCR) kit for Covid-19 detection.

RT-PCR kit is so far considered as gold standard for testing.

The kit, developed by scientists at Reliance Life Sciences, is named R-Green Kit (SARS COV2-real-time PCR) and has been technically validated by ICMR for satisfactory performance, the sources said.

ICMR's validation process does not approve/disapprove the kit design as well as it does not certify user-friendliness.

The sources said the kit can detect the presence of E-gene, R-gene, RdRp gene of SARS COV2 virus with Actin as an internal control.

As per ICMR results, the kit shows 98.7% sensitivity and 98.8% specificity.

This kit is a complete indigenous development by the R&D scientists working at the firm, they said, adding that the biggest advantage of this kit is that it is simple to use and uses readily available simple reagents and primers which can be synthesized in India.

The diagnosis time is approximately 2 hours, they added.

A separate study by Reliance Life Sciences has indicated that the death rate for Covid-19 pandemic may significantly reduce by the end of 2020.

The study showed mutation occurrence of structural and non-structural proteins of SARS-CoV-2 form more than 7,000 genome sequences of SARS-CoV-2 virus from 49 countries.

Statistical analysis showed an inverse correlation between the mutation rates of two proteins NSP6 and Surface glycoprotein (S) with the death rate, according to the study published in the Scientific Journal of Biology.

It has been predicted that mutations of these two proteins will grow constantly, while the death rate would drop below 0.5% by end of 2020 in cluster I countries (India and Bangladesh).

In the study, it has been observed that the cluster II country (USA) mutation rate of NSP6 and S proteins are lower than cluster I and cluster III (Australia and NZ) countries.

Therefore, it has been proposed that in cluster II country the death rate of Covid-19 pandemic will weaken later than cluster I and III countries, the study says.

Reliance also got a U.S. patent for genetically modified microalgae that is said to reduce fatality in coronavirus cases

The United States Patent on September 8 issued the patent.