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India to roll out quick and cheap coronavirus paper test

The locally developed Feluda, named after a detective in Indian novel series, resembles a home pregnancy paper-strip test and delivers results within an hour.

A fast and cheap paper-based coronavirus test will soon be available across India, with scientists hopeful it will help turn the tide on the pandemic in one of the world’s worst-hit nations.

India has recorded more than 7.5 million infections, second only to the United States, and the outbreak has spread from densely packed megacities like Mumbai to rural communities with limited medical services.

The locally developed Feluda, named for a detective in a famous Indian novel series, resembles a home pregnancy paper-strip test and delivers results within an hour.

Researchers are optimistic that its low cost and ease of use can help stem the pathogen’s spread in poor and remote areas.

“This test doesn’t require any sophisticated equipment or highly trained manpower,” said co-creator Souvik Maiti, a scientist at New Delhi’s CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB).

“There are lots of remote parts of India where you do not have any sophisticated laboratories… (The test) will be much easier to deploy; it will have much more penetration.”

India currently diagnoses Covid-19 with either RT-PCR tests, which are highly accurate but require advanced…

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