Paper COVID-19 test promises accurate results at lower costs


In India, a potentially game-changing COVID-19 test, named after Indian Sherlock Holmes Feluda, promises accurate results in under 30 minutes using a paper test strip.

Produced by Indian conglomerate Tata, Feluda would also be cheaper than conventional tests, coming in at about 500 rupees ($6.75). India’s current testing methods face shortages and long wait times for results and cost approximately 2,400 rupees.

“[Feluda] is a simple, precise, reliable, scalable and frugal test,” Professor K Vijay Raghavan, principal scientific adviser to the Indian government, tells BBC.

Feluda was developed using CRISPR technology at CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in Delhi. After trials on 2,000 patients, the test was shown to have 96% sensitivity and 98% specificity.

“India has the opportunity to show the value of this test, because it has such a big population and it’s coming right at the time when it is needed,” says Dr. Stephen Kissler, a research fellow at Harvard Medical School. “If their efficacy is demonstrated, it can have benefits that ripple around the world.”