ViraGen Covid testing kit, manufactured by Cipla in partnership with Ubio Biotechnology Systems, to be sold from today.

Cipla’s Covid-19 Testing Kit ‘ViraGen’ Will Hit The Market Today 

by Bhaswati Guha Majumder - Tuesday, May 25, 2021 03:32 PM IST
Cipla’s Covid-19 Testing Kit ‘ViraGen’ Will Hit The Market Today A Cipla office.
  • ViraGen is an RT-PCR test kit which is approved by Indian Council of Medical Research.

Last week, the Mumbai-based pharmaceutical company Cipla launched a real-time Covid-19 testing kit which will be available in the market from today (25 May).

It is an ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) approved RT-PCR test kit which is called ViraGen.

Cipla collaborated with a Kerala-based biotechnology company Ubio Biotechnology Systems to manufacture this test kit for India.

After the launch, Cipla said: “[It] will help address the current testing services and capacity issues while reaffirming the company's ongoing expansion in the diagnostic space."

This test kit uses multiple PCR (polymerase chain reaction) technologies.

The BioSpectrum magazine's website says that the test helps to identify SARS-CoV-2 N Gene (nucleoprotein) and ORF Lab Gene with a sensitivity of 98.6 per cent and a specificity of 98.8 per cent, compared to a standard ICMR test.

Cipla said that the ViraGen is designed for the “qualitative detection” of nucleic acid from the novel virus in the upper and lower respiratory specimens from people who are suspected of Covid-19.

While talking about Cipla’s contribution to the fight against Covid-19 in India, its CEO Umang Vohra said that the company’s partnership with Ubio Biotechnology Systems will help them to reach out to the maximum number of people in the country.

“Cipla has been working relentlessly to ensure accessibility to treatments in this fight against Covid-19,” Vohra added.

He also noted that as the core purpose of Cipla is "caring for life".

“This partnership will enable us to reach out to more people across the country at a crucial time like now,” he said.

It is Cipla’s third Covid-19 testing kit.

In October 2020, Cipla launched the “ELIFast” (IgG ELISA test) for Covid-19 antibody detection.

Later in December 2020, the company introduced “CIPtest” which is a rapid antigen detection test for Covid-19 diagnosis.

However, this week Cipla and Swiss pharmaceutical firm Roche Holding AG began selling an antibody-drug cocktail to treat non-hospitalised Covid-19 patients who face high risks of their infections turning severe.

This cocktail includes two drugs — Casrivimab and Imdevimab — and was given to former president of the United States Donald Trump when he tested positive for Covid-19 last year.

After the launch, Cipla said: “In total, they can potentially benefit 200,000 patients as each of the 100,000 packs that will be available in India offer treatment for two patients.”

However, the price is a concern, as each patient dose — a combined dose of 1200 mg (Casirivimab 600 mg and Imdevimab 600 mg) — will be Rs 59,750 inclusive of all taxes.

Cipla said that the maximum retail price for the multi-dose pack is Rs 119,500 inclusive of all taxes — each pack can treat two Covid-19 patients.

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