Updated on 14 June 2012
The time required for detection is extremely essential. Its importance is reaffirmed when Mr Nair recalls an incident from a few years back, when Truelab helped to diagnose one of his colleagues with malaria, on the first day of falling ill itself. The timely diagnosis resulted in prompt treatment and the colleague was back to work in a matter of days.
Though not the first hand-held PCR to be developed, TrueLab does differentiate itself by being a product developed indigenously in India and hence offers a major cost advantage. The price of the device will be roughly one-fifth of the cost of a PCR machine that costs upwards of $17,960 (Rs 10 lakh). The subsequent cost of carrying out the test is also reduced accordingly. Also the focus, the founders say, has always been on making it for developing countries such as India for infectious diseases and hence the chips are being designed accordingly.
In recognition of their efforts, last year Bigtec was awarded a $1.3 million grant from Grand Challenges Canada. Part of this grant will be utilized for developing novel nano material-based sample preparations for the device. Additionally, Mr Nair says that Indian government agencies have been extremely supportive by providing small grants and helping them validate the results of the device.
To make the adoption of this product into the healthcare system a reality, Bigtec has entered into a joint venture with the Tulip Group wherein Bigtec would carry out further product development and Tulip Group would be responsible for the manufacturing and marketing of the product. The product would be manufactured in Goa at the Tulip headquarters.