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Apollo Hospitals, TataMD collaborate on Covid tests

Apollo Hospitals, TataMD collaborate on Covid tests
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New Delhi : Healthcare major Apollo Hospitals Group and Tata Medical and Diagnostics Ltd (TataMD) on Thursday announced a collaboration to introduce 'TataMD CHECK' diagnostic test for Covid-19 in the country, which will provide faster results.

Apollo Hospitals along with its subsidiary Apollo Diagnostics will offer the Tata MD CHECK testing in the national capital region (NCR) from the first week of December 2020 and thereafter, it will be rolled out across all major metros in the country, the companies said. These metros are Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Pune, followed by a second phase into other cities, they added.

TataMD CHECK is a Covid-19 diagnostic test based on the DNA genome editing tool CRISPR Cas-9 and has been approved by Indian Council of Medical Research and Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), the companies said.

"The use of CRISPR-Cas9 Technology ensures quicker results due to a more agile process and AI-based automated result detection methodology," they said.

During the next few weeks, Apollo Hospitals group will ensure the availability of TataMD CHECK testing in eight hospitals in phase 1, they added. The companies, however, did not share the financial details of the collaboration.

"The addition of TataMD 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 Joint MD Sangita Reddy said.

Addressing a webinar to announce the collaboration, she said that "Apollo Hospitals will take this technology of CRISPR Cas-9 based diagnostic and the Tata CHECK capability and their platform, and will put it in our diagnostic ecosystem and bring this to the consumer, to the patients, to the customers".

"I am very excited about the partnership, not only because it is an India developed technology, and a great validation of our Aatmanirbhar focus, that's a call which has been given by the Prime Minister. I am also excited because it enhances the speed of diagnostics," Reddy said. The next few days will be mission mode at Apollo in converting this technology into "a very usable, very user-friendly process for the labs, for the technicians, for the doctors, for the patients", she added.

"There can't be a better partner we can think of in the Indian context then Apollo Hospitals. It is a great honour and a proud moment to associate with Apollo from the Tata group, from the Tata Medical and Diagnostics Ltd as to announce as our preferred and most important partner to make this product available and accessible nationwide", Tata Medical and Diagnostics CEO and MD Girish Krishnamurthy said.

TataMD 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.

TataMD is currently manufacturing the product in its factory in Chennai with a capacity for one million per month which can be scaled up, Krishnamurthy said. If all the processes are streamlined, the results of tests can be expected in 6 to 7 hours, he added.

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