Rapid Dot Blot, a kit developed by Gonoshasthaya Kendra, can detect coronavirus within 10-15 minutes at a minimal cost, founder of the organisation Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury has said.
The kit will cost only Tk 300/350, Dr Zafrullah told The Daily Star today.
"We can market the product at Tk 200/250 if government refrains from imposing tax or VAT," he said.
Dr Bijon Kumar Sil is leading the team, made up of Dr Nihad Adnan, Dr Mohd. Raeed Jamiruddin, and Dr Firoze Ahmed.
"We have applied to the drug controllers [Directorate General of Drug Administration] but they are not realising its importance. They should have given us the approval seven days ago," said Zafrullah.
He further said, "The kit, which is available in the markets at present, is very expensive. It requires a machine which is expensive and rarely available in medical colleges. IEDCR has one and that is why they could test only 268 people so far, whereas, we should have tested thousands."
"Everything depends on the government. If they fix the price for corona test, just like they did for dengue, then people can avail it at a minimal cost. We can supply one lakh kits a month. Initially we can supply 10,000 kits starting from this month," said Dr Zafrullah.
About the technique, he said, "It is more or less similar to how blood groups are confirmed. When SARS virus broke out in 2003, Bijon Kumar Sil, along with his assistants in a research lab in Singapore, developed a technique to rapidly detect it.
"Rapid Dot Blot is patented under his name. Later the Chinese government brought it and battled SARS successfully."
SARS-CoV-2 is the name of the virus that causes the Covid-19 disease.
Dr Sil joined Gonoshasthya two years ago. He is the current chief scientist of the pharmaceuticals division there.