The University of Peradeniya has developed a new low-cost test kit to diagnose SARS-CoV-2 infected patients in a relatively shorter time with a higher accuracy.

Developed by a team led by Dr. Ruchika Fernando of the Department of Veterinary Public Health and Pharmacology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, this COVID-19 test kit has been priced at only Rs. 1,500.

The test kit has already received the approval of the technical committee of National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA).

As the test kit is based on the Reverse Transcription-Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification (RT-LAMP) principle, patients are detected based on amplification of SARS-CoV-2 virus specific RNA in the sample and compatible with patient samples collected for regular qRT-PCR.

According to its developers, the positive agreement of this test kit with qRT-PCR is very high (97%) compared to similar alternatives such as Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) in which the positive agreement with qRT-PCR can be in the range of 12-71%.

The test kit is equipped with an internal control assay based on human beta actin messenger RNA which can confirm the quality of the patient sample received by the laboratory.

The developers of the COVID test kit have presented it to Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella, who commended the new invention.

During the event, the minister stated that Sri Lanka is receiving international acclaim for its national COVID-19 inoculation drive. He assured that the Ministry of Health would take all necessary measures to bring the country back to normalcy as soon as possible.