Saline gargle method has been developed by scientists at Nagpur's National Environmental Engineering Research Institute.
This method of RT-PCR testing saves time and also reduces risk of infection.
“Saline gargle” RT-PCR Test which has been developed by scientists at Nagpur's National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) has been approved by ICMR. The self-test gives results in 3 hours and is being considered as it saves time and reduces the risk of infection.
This method of test is quite simpler and cheaper. NEERI under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research achieved a new milestone by developing this non-invasive RT-PCR method. It means that there is no swab involved in this testing method.
The test kit comes with a tube containing saline. One has to put that liquid in the mouth and gargle for 15 seconds. He is then required to spit into a simple collection tube. This sample is then taken to a lab where it is kept at room temperature in a special buffer solution prepared by NEERI for 30 minutes. An RNA template is produced when the solution is heated. It is then further processed for RT-PCR.
The method does not require queuing up at testing centres. The swab collection process takes time and is also an uncomfortable process for the patients. The saline gargle method is also environment friendly since waste generation is minimized. It is especially beneficial for rural areas that have constraints with respect to infrastructure, said Dr Krishna Khairnar, senior scientist environmental virology cell.