NIV Current Affairs - 2020

Agappe Chitra Magna launched by SCTIMST to detect COVID-19

On May 20, 2020, the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Science and Technology operating under Department of Science and Technology has launched magnetic nano particle based RNA extraction kit called “Agappe Chitra Magna”.


The Agappe Chitra Magna kit was validated by the National Institute of Virology. The kit was developed by the SCTIMST and was transferred to Agappe Diagnostics and hence the name Agappe Chitra Magna kit.

The approval of the kit was provided by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO).

About the kit

The kit uses an innovative technology of magnetic nano particles to isolate RNA. The nanoparticles are used to capture RNA from the sample of the patient. The kit enhanced detection of positive cases. This is because the magnetic nanoparticles binds to the viral RNA and when exposed to magnetic field gives concentrated RNA.


The kit is highly affordable. The price of the kit is Rs 300 and is expected to come down to Rs 150. This will help to address the needs of India. The Government of India has estimated that the country will need around 8 lakhs kits per month for the next six months. The Agappe Diagnostics has manufacturing capacity of 3 lakh kits per month.

ICMR issues Guidelines for Antibody Test Kits

On May 13, 2020, the Indian Council of Medical Research released guidelines for using rapid antibody kits for COVID-19. The Council has also listed the names of the manufacturers that produced these kits. It includes two Chinese manufacturers as well.


The antibody tests according to the apex body are not recommended for diagnosis of COVID-19. The tests are to be used only for surveillance.


The licenses of the two Chinese companies that are now included in the list were cancelled by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization. However, they have found their names in the list. The other companies included in the list were validated at NIV Pune.


The tests are to be done on plasma samples or serum samples or blood samples. The results of the tests will be available in 30 minutes.

Role of NIV

According to health research body, ICMR, the National Institute of Virology (NIV) has so far validated 42 antibody based rapid tests. Out of these 10 were manufactured in India.

Why are antibody test kits used only for surveillance?

Antibody kits are not used for confirming COVID-19 infection. They are only used for surveillance. This is because the chances of these kits producing false negatives are high at early stages of COVID-19.

Antibodies are generated only after 7 to 10 days of infection. So when tested prior to this, the tests show negative.