IISc startups get ready for second Covid wave- The New Indian Express


Express News Service

BENGALURU: Startups at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), incubated at the institute’s Society of Innovation and Development, are getting ready to tackle the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic. Azooka Labs, cofounded by Alex D Paul and Dr Fathima Benazir, is waiting for the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) approval to scale up its facility to produce one million kits of RNAWRAPR, a medium to safely transport Covid test swabs.

This safer transportation practice can replace the current method, Alex told The New Sunday Express. He warned that with the current practice, there is a danger of infection spreading among healthcare workers. But with RNAWRAPR, the aqueous medium will inactivate the virus and retain the RNA, which can also be stored at room temperature, he added. This helps health workers transport the samples from tier-two and three cities to collection centres in tier-one cities. 

Vinay Kumar, co-founder and CEO of PathShodh, is awaiting for one of the last stages of approval for his product — ICMR certification. His electrochemical detection of Covid is a notch up from the antiody ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test, capturing the quantitative value of the antibody and letting one know how susceptible they are to contracting the virus a second time.

Clinical trials are complete in four hospitals at Vellore, and the electrochemical detection will bring the analysis to a device the size of a mobile phone or smaller. A tiny blood sample from a prick will be deposited on a small strip base and the device will let one know the quantity of antibodies present in the body. The device also resolves the data management issue.

Dr Subasis Sarangi, founder of Siamaf Healthcare, is looking to leverage his novel magnetic blood filtration system for critical Covid patients. Sepsis, cancer or Covid reduces the immunity and cause a cytokine storm in a patient. To remedy this, the magnetic nanotechnology ‘MafCyto’ will take out cytokines through a method similar to dialysis. MafCyto is currently in the pre-clinical study stage, and the invitro studies (animal testing) are expected to be completed in five months. 


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