JNCASR spinoff launches molecular probes used in COVID-19 test kits

New Delhi, July 12, 2020: VNIR Biotechnologies Private Limited, a spinoff by Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology launched indigenous fluorescence probes and Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) mix for Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) detection which are molecular probes used in COVID-19 test kits.

VNIR Biotechnologies Private Limited is incubated at Bangalore Bio-innovation Centre (BBC) of Government of Karnataka.

Prof. T. Govindaraju and Dr. Meher Prakash, co-founders of VNIR, have developed the Flores-cence probes and PCR mix for RTPCR detection.

These molecular probes are used in COVID-19 test kits.

A typical, PCR based test kit has three critical components (oligos, enzymes, molecular probes).

The first two are partly available in India and partly imported while molecular probes used in COVID 19 tests are only imported.

The molecular probes are used to track the amplification in PCR. Their immediate application is for COVID-19 testing, but they are gen-eral-purpose molecular tools for diagnostic tests of several diseases.

VNIR has innovated synthesis pro-tocols for a suite of molecular probes, which will be useful for PCR based COVID-19 testing. VNIR will be filing for the protec-tion of its process innovation.

Given the scale of tests required for COVID-19, it is very important to become self-reliant with the criti-cal test kit components.

“The probes for RT-PCR based COVID–19 tests is an excellent example of leveraging our basic sci-ence knowledge for development of critical new products that are until now being imported. Nor is this knowledge limited to one particular virus, but would help us rapidly develop molecular diagnosis in the future for other viruses as well,” said Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST.

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