Present RT-qPCR (Real-time quantitative chain reaction polymerase) research methods are performed in the form of swabs from samples collected in Viral Transport Medium (VTM), followed by RNA extraction and RT-qPCR. Now for this study, CSIR-CCMB has developed a simplified protocol in which dry swabs are collected and used directly for RT-qPCR.
This simplification makes the process safer as there is no liquid sample handling and leakage and fear of contamination in BSL-3 (Biosafety Level) sample handling facilities, says Dr Rakesh Mishra, CSIR-CCMB manager. In addition , the major bottleneck in today’s research is the RNA extraction process, due to time and manpower constraints, Dr Mishra said. Removing this step will increase testing efficiency by about threefold, without any additional inputs.
This process, Dry Swab Direct RT-qPCR, is being considered with ICMR and it is predicted that effective advisory would help to get further tests performed at much lower cost and give us a better chance of handling the pandemic in the immediate future.