Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B)-led a multi-institute research team has developed a new testing protocol that can detect asymptomatic patients infected with coronavirus, Human Resource and Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal shared on his Twitter handle on Saturday. The testing method is called Tapestry, which is a single-round smart pooling technique for COVID-19 testing.
Delighted to share @iitbombay's latest innovation with you all!— Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (@DrRPNishank) May 16, 2020
The institute has developed a new testing protocol to identify asymptomatic carriers of the #coronavirus. Read more: https://t.co/sm4R2nol5A
Well done, team! pic.twitter.com/oPBA1xlyMc
The research team comprises 28 researchers from IIT-B, National Centre for Biological Sciences, InStem, Harvard University, Harvard Medical School, SASTRA University and the Mumbai-based start-up, Shop101.
As per Tapestry, a swab sample of a person will be sent to three pools and each requires at least multiple rounds of testing. Meanwhile, each round of testing takes four hours. Later, the test will be conducted using computer simulation. The result of all the three samples matches if the person tests positive or negative.
The Hindustan Times quoted Principal investigator and associate professor, IIT-B department of electrical engineering Manoj Gopalkrishnan as saying, "The peculiarity we are seeing with Covid-19 is asymptomatic individuals are carriers and can spread the virus. The only way to combat this is either you put everyone under lockdown or test everyone; neither of which are desirable options. One option is to test as many as possible in a cost-effective way, and one way to do it is by pooling samples.”
Tapestry’s method is unlike the technique of pooling samples approved by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).