Team Lead: Utpal Tatu

Since the beginning of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected and altered life all across the globe. It has caused the death of more than 916,000 individuals and has infected 28.5 million people across the world. Currently India is the world’s second most affected country with 77,000 deaths and more than 4.66 million people infected. The need for ramping up of COVID-19 testing in India is of utmost priority as the infection currently shows no sign of slowing down. The use of diagnostic kits manufactured by foreign organisations will not be a viable long-term option as they are expensive and not accessible to all levels of society.

The Government of India had asked the scientific community and indigenous manufacturers to produce reliable COVID-19 diagnostic kits to boost country’s testing capacity. Despite this, there are relatively few Indian companies producing high-quality COVID-19 qRT-PCR kits and the bulk of testing in India uses kits from Chinese, South Korean and American companies.

Equine Biotech, a social entrepreneurial initiative by Prof. Utpal Tatu, Department of Biochemistry, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), has engineered and developed an extremely sensitive, rapid, and affordable COVID-19 diagnostic kit that is approved by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Prof. Utpal Tatu’s Lab at IISc, with over 23 years of experience in studying infectious diseases, has a social entrepreneurial initiative called Equine Biotech. This start-up, recognised by the Government of Karnataka and Government of India, is involved in developing diagnostics for emerging infectious diseases such as COVID-19. The company has now developed a COVID-19 RT-PCR diagnositic kit called “GlobalTM diagnostic kit” for accurate and affordable diagnosis.

Equine Biotech is looking to licence the above kit for large scale manufacturing and sale. The agreement would involve tech transfer and support in manufacturing of kits. We are looking at Med-Tech companies with experience in distribution and marketing of diagnostic kits.

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