New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: A newly-developed RT-PCR testing method for COVID-19 might become an alternative to invasive and painful swab tests. The testing method called ‘saline gargle’, developed by Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institue (NEERI) requires one to gargle a saline solution and wash the mouth with it and finally spit it in a test tube.

The testing method has been approved by the Pune-headquartered Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). NEERI has been directed to train the testing labs across the country to scale up the adoption of the gargle-based COVID-19 test. The Pune Municipal Corporation has already started conducting COVID-19 tests through NEERI’s Gargle RT-PCR test.

The testing tube is then sent to the designated laboratory to detect the presence of COVID-19 infection. “The saline gargle method offers a bunch of attractive benefits all rolled into one. It is simple, fast, cost-effective, patient-friendly and comfortable; it also offers instant results and is well suited for rural and tribal areas, given minimal infrastructure requirements,” the Ministry of Science and Technology said in a statement to the media.

Speaking on the effectiveness of the ‘saline gargle’ test, Dr Krishna Khairnar, senior scientist at National Environmental Engineering Research Institue’s Environment Virology Cell, stated that a lot of time is lost in the transport of RT-PCR swab tests to designated collection centres.

COVID-19 result from saline Gargle RT-PCR test within ‘3-hours’

Dr Krishna Khairnar added that the Gargle RT-PCR testing method is instant, comfortable and patient-friendly. “Sampling is done instantly and results will be generated within 3 hours,” Dr Khairnar added. Dr Khairnar expects that the Gargle RT-PCR testing method will allow the authorities to tackle the infrastructural constraint in rural and tribal areas.

India is currently testing its population for COVID-19 through Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) and conventional RT-PCR tests. Last week, Mumbai-headquartered Cipla launched its instant COVID-19 testing kit viragen in the markets across India.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan