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Low-cost indigenous diabetes test kit soon

Kalyan Ray, April 11, 2015, New Delhi: DHNS: 1:29 IST
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has transferred a diabetes detection technology to a start up firm which plans to come up with an easy-to-use blood sugar test kit at a price lower than those available in the market.

Several such kits that use glucometer and strips are sold in medical shops. But all of them are based on imported technology and hence costlier than what the Delhi-based company promises to offer.

“We will provide the glucometer at Rs 1000 apiece and strip at Rs 5 each. In the market, glucometers are available at Rs 2000-2500 and strips at Rs 20-30 each,” said Sahil Dharia, managing director of Soothe Healthcare, a three-year-old company that was given marketing rights of 7 diagnostic kits by the ICMR.

A month back, ICMR signed an agreement with the company to manufacture and market seven products – diabetes diagnostic equipment; cervical cancer test kit; an instrument to detect vitamin A deficiency, a kit for iron deficiency; two diagnostics for hepatitis E and tuberculosis and a personal cooling garment system. All are based on indigenous technologies, validated by ICMR.

The diabetes detection kit is the first one to take off the block because of its market potential due to high diabetes burden.

The International Diabetes Federation estimates the total number of diabetic subjects to be around 40.9 million in India and this is further set to rise to 69.9 million by the year 2025, according to a 2012 study led by V Mohan of Madras Diabetes Research Foundation.

The technology was developed by researchers at the Hyderabad based Birla Institute of Technology and Science. “Its performance is comparable with commercial products. The test is sensitive to the same concentration of samples as required in products available in the market,” Suman Kapur, who headed the team of scientists at BITS, told Deccan Herald. The validation trial was don on 257 samples in 2013-14.

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