Stafff Reporter –
Apollo Hospitals Group, Asia’s foremost integrated healthcare services provider and Tata Medical and Diagnostics (Tata MD), the new heath care venture of the Tata group, has announced a collaboration to introduce TataMD CHECK, the world’s first CRISPR Cas-9 based diagnostic test, to help increase testing for COVID-19 across the country. Apollo Hospitals, along with its subsidiary, Apollo Diagnostics will offer the Tata MD CHECK testing in the National Capital Region from the first week of December 2020 and shortly thereafter, it will be rolled out across all major centres, namely Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Pune, followed by a second phase into other cities. TataMD CHECK, powered by FELUDA, is the world’s first COVID19 diagnostic test based on the DNA genome editing tool CRISPR Cas-9. The FELUDA diagnostic technology platform has been developed by Institute of Genomics & Integrative Biology (CSIR- IGIB). TataMD CHECK has been approved by Indian Council of Medical Research and Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). It is a viral detection test with high accuracy and a quick result turnaround time. Apollo Hospitals Group is the first healthcare institution in the country to adopt the test. This significant tie-up with Apollo Hospitals kicks off the efforts of TataMD Check to align with healthcare institutions including hospitals, diagnostic chains and other healthcare facilities. During the next few weeks, Apollo Hospitals group will ensure the availability of TataMD Check testing in eight hospitals in phase 1 and the location-wise quantities will be ramped up based on the demand and need for expanding this to other centres. The primary care clinics and Diagnostics Lab and Collection centre network of Apollo Diagnostics in all these cities will also support the collection, home collection as well as testing to support this initiative. The nationwide network of Apollo Health & Lifestyle Ltd has over 100 Clinics, 75 Labs and over 600 collection centres in 15 states across the country. These will be progressively utilised as needed to enhance the reach and convenience to patients. Till date the Apollo Hospitals Group has conducted over 2,50,000 COVID Tests and have treated over 75,000 patients for COVID-19. Tata MD will help train the key diagnostic clinicians and staff at Apollo Hospitals and Apollo Diagnostics on new technology and effective testing protocols in the next few weeks. With its inherent advantages, TataMD Check is expected to help deliver quicker results and higher throughput of testing volumes as there are no minimum batch sizes limitations. Continuous quality control of kits using sensors as well AI-based result capture and analysis tool will help laboratories with image-based results, with full traceability of the sample and results that are accessible anywhere resulting in an enhanced patient experience. Commenting on this initiative, Dr. Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals (AHEL) and Managing Director, Apollo Health and Lifestyle Limited (AHLL) said, “The addition of Tata MD check as part of the testing arsenal will be a boost to the ongoing efforts that the country has been waging against this pandemic. We at Apollo are happy to partner with the Tata Group in what is potentially a revolutionary advancement in the Covid Testing Landscape. Apollo Hospitals Group has always been at the forefront in pioneering initiatives, adoption of new technologies for delivery of care, testing and prevention and we are happy to further the cause of AatmaNirbhar Bharat in providing the launch pad for adoption of this indigenously developed testing as a new addition to the array of Covid testing. To create seamless anytime anywhere access for booking, individuals can download Apollo 24/7 app with the benefit of availing reports within 2hrs. “We are proud to partner with Apollo Hospitals which is acclaimed for its pioneering and unique position in India’s healthcare fabric. Apollo Hospitals has also been at the forefront of the nation’s efforts to fight this global pandemic at multiple levels including advocating of preventive efforts, aggressive testing and holistic care. We believe that the association with Apollo Hospitals will catalyse the rapid adoption of TataMD CHECK as the efficient and preferred testing option as we begin to resume our lives again,” added Girish Krishnamurthy, CEO & MD, Tata Medical and Diagnostics. The process of collecting patient samples, RNA extraction and amplificationremain same in TataMD CHECK as in other viral detection tests. However, the use of CRISPR-Cas9 Technology ensures quicker results due to a more agile process and AI-based automated result detection methodology. TataMD Check test kits are being manufactured at a quality-controlled production facility near Chennai, Tamil Nadu.