FELUDA kit more expensive, hence not as popular as RTPCR: ICMR to HC

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that COVID detecting test – FELUDA – developed by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has not gained popularity like RTPCR as its kit was more expensive.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli was told by ICMR that a FELUDA testing kit costs Rs 300, while that of RTPCR costs Rs 100.

ICMR said that once FELUDA takes off, its improved version RAY (short for Rapid variant AssaY) will also gain popularity.

However, FELUDA had the advantage that its testing kit was more mobile, that is it can be carried around in a vehicle and does not require a laboratory, than that of RTPCR which requires a fixed lab setting, ICMR told the court.

Therefore, samples can be collected on site and results can be given in less than two hours, it said.

The court said that since FELUDA can be mobile, it can be put to use once the curfew is set aside and the city reopens.

“We cannot remain in this mode forever. We will have to open up. This (FELUDA) will be handy in that situation,” the bench said.

On May 10, the high court had asked ICMR why FELUDA and RAY have not gained popularity like RTPCR.

The court had said that all the ICMR approved tests should be available to the general public, especially those which are cheaper and give accurate and fast results.

The Delhi government had said that even though FELUDA and RAY (short for Rapid variant AssaY) tests are cheaper and ICMR approved, the gold standard was still RTPCR.

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The FELUDA test is based on CRISPR-Cas9 technology for diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2.


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