India develops probably world’s cheapest Covid-19 test swab

India develops probably world’s cheapest Covid-19 test swab
Image: Google

As the number of novel coronavirus cases rose across the country, India faced a short supply of testing swabs. Earlier, India was importing from China at a steep price of Rs 17 per stick, then India decided to develop the world’s cheapest Covid-19 test swab.

Eventually, India succeeded in its attempt and now India is manufacturing the test swabs at the lowest price of just Rs 1.7 per unit. This all happened because of the Indian government’s policy to make India self-reliant. Recently, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a big appeal to the citizens of the country. Bringing a new slogan – ‘Vocal for local’ – He urged the countrymen to promote swadeshi products and motivate others too in buying local products.

A solution was fixed in 10-days combining the expertise of Johnson & Johnson of manufacturing a similar product in earbuds, and Reliance Industries providing custom-made polyester staple fiber that resulted in the cost of swabs coming down to just ₹ 1.7 per unit. The Indian company has started manufacturing the test swabs which are approved by the National Institute of Virology, Pune.

“Manufacturing of the test swabs in a record seven days from conceptualization to production under the Make In India initiative required ingenuity and rapid action.”

“In this design, Reliance provided the raw material and Johnson & Johnson India provided pro bono scientific expertise of research, development, engineering for manufacturing of the test swabs. Production has already started on May 6, 2020, by the manufacturer Adi Enterprise, an Indian MSME in Mumbai,” Sandeep Makkar, Managing Director, Johnson and Johnson Medical India said.

India, which was not manufacturing even a single test swab, has now achieved an almost unrealistic goal of producing about 1 lakh test swabs daily after the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials said it all started about 10 days back when Ravi Kapoor, Secretary, Textiles contacted J&J and Reliance to check whether India can manufacture swab required for testing purposes. The two companies came forward to take the project on a mission mode with no commercial considerations.

In his address to the nation on Tuesday, PM Modi said, “The crisis has brought a key opportunity for India. We are at a critical juncture in this fight. A self-reliant India is the only way forward. We need to make India excel in post-COVID world order.”

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