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28th May 2020

IIT Delhi projects focused on COVID-19 detection research receive financial support from Microsoft India

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Research to tackle the COVID-19 situation continues at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, with focus on the early detection of the disease. Aiding this endeavour, Microsoft India has come forth to support two such projects of the institute.

One of them pertains to ICMR approved probe-free real-time PCR-based COVID-19 detection assay developed at the Kusuma School of Biological Sciences, IIT Delhi. This probe-free technology will be more affordable and easily scalable. The other project is a collaboration between IIT Delhi and National Chemical Laboratory, Pune, and aims to develop an ELISA based diagnostic serological assay against COVID-19. If successful, it will create an economical, commercial process for manufacturing the antigens used in ELISA and home-based diagnostic kits to offer an effective, quick, robust and affordable diagnostic solution to COVID-19 outbreak.

“Research is one of the most important aspects of COVID-19. The Principal Scientific Advisor's office is proud of IIT Delhi that it has successfully developed low-cost high quality testing solution using one-step RT-PCR assay and working on ELISA methodology. Microsoft India, known for its philanthropic founder and leadership, has supported the initiative both through financial support and global technical resources and infrastructure”, said Dr. Sapna Poti, part of COVID-19 Special Task Force at the Principal Scientific Advisor's office.

Prof. V Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi expressed his pleasure and said, “Microsoft India has time and again associated with IIT Delhi for the betterment of research, and this contribution to projects focused on COVID-19 detection research shall help the nation combat these difficult times. Timely detection can prove to be the key to curb the spread of the virus, and I am glad our institute is devising means to achieve it.”

Ms. Rohini Srivathsa, National Technology Officer, Microsoft India said, “We want to make sure researchers working to combat COVID-19 have access to the tools and resources they need. Researchers at IIT Delhi are leading a critical effort to develop low cost diagnostic solutions that will make COVID-19 testing much more affordable and accessible for all. Microsoft India is proud to support this effort and we hope that by expanding access to our technology resources and grants, we can help accelerate this important work.”

“The funds from Microsoft India will be utilized for establishing a fast-PCR protocol for our ICMR-approved assay” said Prof. Vivekanandan Perumal (KSBS, IIT Delhi), Principal Investigator of the RT-PCR-based COVID-19 detection assay project.

Further, Prof. Manoj B Menon (KSBS, IIT Delhi), the co-investigator of the project added, “We will also be optimising other COVID-19 RT-PCR assays currently being developed in our laboratory” added

Prof. Anurag S. Rathore, Dean, Corporate Relations, IIT Delhi said, “Testing continues to be a challenge in managing COVID-19 and is likely to remain so for the years to come. IIT Delhi happens to be the first academic institute successful in offering a test that has been approved by ICMR. The grant from Microsoft India will aid in commercialisation of the probe free detection assay that has been developed at IIT Delhi and also fund research on examining the possibility of creating an ELISA like assay for COVID detection. This collaboration highlights IIT Delhi's strength in healthcare. We wish success to both the teams in their respective projects."