New Delhi, September 19: India’s first Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) COVID-19 test has been approved for use in India. The first CRISPR has been developed by the Tata Group and CSIR-IGIB, the  Ministry of Science & Technology said on Sunday. According to reports, the test uses an indigenously developed, cutting-edge CRISPR technology for detection of the genomic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 virus. CRISPR is a genome editing technology to diagnosing diseases. COVID-19 Vaccine Update: Harsh Vardhan Says 'Corona Vaccine Will Be Available by Early Next Year'.

The Tata CRISPR test is the world’s first diagnostic test to deploy a specially adapted Cas9 protein to successfully detect the virus causing Covid-19. This marks a significant achievement for the Indian scientific community, moving from R&D to a high-accuracy, scalable and reliable test in less than 100 days.

The Tata CRISPR test achieves accuracy levels of traditional RT-PCR tests, with quicker turnaround time, less expensive equipment, and better ease of use. Moreover, CRISPR is a futuristic technology that can also be configured for detection of multiple other pathogens in the future.

What is CRISPR 

  • CRISPR is a family of DNA sequences found in the genomes of prokaryotic organisms such as bacteria and archaea. Prokaryotic organisms are unicellular organisms that lack organelles or other internal membrane-bound structures
  • These sequences are derived from DNA fragments of bacteriophages that had previously infected the prokaryote.
  • CRISPR is a technology that can be used to edit genes and, as such, will likely change the world

The Tata Group has worked closely with CSIR-IGIB and ICMR to create a high-quality test that will help the nation ramp up coronavirus testing quickly and economically, with a ‘Made in India’ product that is safe, reliable, affordable, and accessible.

Commenting on the development, Girish Krishnamurthy, CEO, TATA Medical and Diagnostics Ltd, said, “The approval for the Tata CRISPR test for COVID-19 will give a boost to the country’s efforts in fighting the global pandemic. The commercialization of the Tata CRISPR test reflects the tremendous R&D talent in the country, which can collaborate to transform India’s contributions to the global healthcare and scientific research world.”

In May, CSIR's Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) and Tata Sons had  signed an agreement for licensing of the knowhow of a COVID-19 diagnostic kit. Banmali Agrawala, President - Infrastructure and Defence and Aerospace, Tata Sons was quoted by Livemint saying, “We are happy to enter into a partnership with IGIB for further development and commercialization of this CRISPR based technology for COVID-19 detection".

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Sep 19, 2020 09:05 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website