New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research’s spinoff VNIR Biotechnologies Pvt. Ltd. launched indigenous fluorescence probes and Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) mix for Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction detection which are molecular probes used in COVID-19 test kits. VNIR’s R&D effort in line with the Make-In-India and Aatma Nirbhar Bharat missions of the Government of India is meant to contribute to self-reliance in COVID-19 testing.

Prof. T Govindaraju and Dr Meher Prakash are the co-founders of VNIR and has developed these kits which basically have three main components in it. VNIR team used the opportunity of staying at home to contribute to addressing the problem of COVID-19 by investing in newer R&D and taking up risk and challenges. The first two components Oligos, Enzymes are partly available in India and partly imported with molecular probes that are used to track the amplification in PCR. They are the basic diagnostic kits with synthetic protocols for a suite of molecular probes which are now put to testing for COVID-19.

Given the scale of tests required for COVID-19, it is very important to become self-reliant with the critical test kit components. Enzyme and Oligo needs are partly met by Indian manufacturers, and VNIR envisions to address the third critical component, which is the molecular probes. The probes are an excellent example of leveraging our basic science knowledge for the development of critical new products that are until now being imported.

The VNIR team used the opportunity of staying at home to contribute to addressing the problem of COVID-19 by investing in newer R&D and taking up risk and challenges. VNIR’s R&D effort in line with the Make-In-India and Aatmanirbhar Bharat missions of the Government of India is meant to contribute to self-reliance in COVID-19 testing.

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