Faster, easier COVID-19 test kit unveiled by India’s Tata Group

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Tata MD Check
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Indian multinational conglomerate Tata Group has launched a COVID-19 test kit that can provide results faster and easier than the RT-PCR method, the gold standard for coronavirus detection. 

India’s Ministry of Science and Technology remarked that the new nasal swab test co-developed by the Indian Government and Tata is reportedly more accurate than the rapid antigen test currently favored in the country.

Mr. Girish Krishnamurthy, CEO of Tata Medical and Diagnostics, the healthcare subsidiary of the cars-to-clothes conglomerate stated that the firm is expected to manufacture 1 million kits a month at its Chennai plant and can scale up the production rapidly as per requirements.

The product which is named TataMD CHECK is capable of returning test results in 90 minutes. The unit will be sold through hospitals and laboratories from next month.

“You don’t need big, expensive equipment to do the test, so it becomes more accessible and available, and more labs can start testing,” Mr. Krishnamurthy announced.

The Tata Medical and Diagnostics Chief remarked that the team will use a process based on artificial intelligence and automation to test swabs.

Close to 60 percent of COVID-19 tests carried out by India are done using the rapid antigen method that is faster but less accurate. While the country seeks to conduct more than 1.5 million tests per day, experts raised concern about the lower detection rate of rapid antigen tests (80 to 90 percent) leading to under-reporting of infections.

An Antigen devices return results in about 15 minutes compared to several hours taken by the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method.

“Our aspiration is that this can become a new standard in testing,” Mr. Krishnamurthy said.