The Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS), a laboratory of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), has developed a Covid-19 antibody detection kit called ‘Dipcovan’, which can “detect spike as well as nucleocapsid (S&N) proteins of SARS-CoV-2 virus with a high sensitivity of 97 per cent and specificity of 99 per cent.”
It is “intended for the qualitative detection of IgG antibodies in human serum or plasma, targeting SARS-CoV-2 related antigens” and offers a “significantly faster turn-around time, as it requires just 75 minutes to conduct the test without any cross-reactivity with other diseases,” the ministry stated. The DIPCOVAN kit has an 18-month shelf life, it added.
It will be commercially launched by DRDO’s industry partner — Delhi-based Vanguard Diagnostics — in the first week of June and the readily available stock at the time of launch will be “100 kits (approx. 10,000 tests) with a production capacity of 500 kits/month after the launch” according to the statement. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare granted regulatory approvals this month to manufacture the kit for sale and distribution.
The kit is expected to be available at about Rs 75 per test. The Dipcovan kit was developed indigenously by the DRDO's scientists, followed by extensive validation on more than 1,000 patient samples at various Covid designated hospitals in Delhi. Three batches of the product were validated during the last year. The antibody detection kit is approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in April 2021.