Bengaluru: An indigenously developed testing kit for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) based on the gene-editing technology CRISPR – called Feluda – will be launched in Delhi by the Tata group in collaboration with the Apollo group of hospitals, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, Tata Medical and Diagnostics Ltd (TataMD) announced that the paper-strip kit would be marketed as “TataMD’s CHECK”.

According to a statement by TataMD, the testing kit is an ICMR-approved and DCGI-certified, highly COVID-19 viral detection test with a sensitivity and specificity that is at par with qPCR.

"TataMD CHECK will be especially useful in rapid turnaround situations like airports, hospitals, universities, and camps where quick delivery of results is critical in order to reduce waiting times for patients. Accessible and accurate results will allow for better testing strategies that mean people can return to everyday activities," the statement said.

The first batch of Feluda paper strip test, which has been approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for use in the country, will only be made available in Delhi, one of India’s worst-hit states.

The price has not been released yet, but earlier reports said it could cost around 500 rupees -- around a fifth of what a PCR test costs in Delhi.

The new kit has a high sensitivity of 96% and specificity of 98%, meaning it can accurately detect both positive and negative cases. It was approved for use by the Indian Council of Medical Research in September. A team of researchers from the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology named the test Feluda after the eponymous Bengali fictional detective, reported Hindustan Times.