In a remarkable stride towards combating the COVID-19 pandemic, Bengaluru-based startup CrisprBits Private has introduced OmiCrisp, a groundbreaking CRISPR-based testing platform designed for rapid diagnosis and surveillance of SARS-CoV2. The unveiling of OmiCrisp marks a significant advancement in molecular diagnostics, offering the capability not only to detect the virus but also to distinguish variants of the Omicron lineage from other known variants of concern.

OmiCrisp’s distinguishing feature lies in its ability to provide accurate and rapid identification of SARS-CoV2 variants, particularly the Omicron lineage, setting it apart from conventional testing methods. This innovative platform is currently being utilized by Molecular Solutions Care Health LLP to monitor sewage samples in 14 localities across Bengaluru, with a specific focus on detecting the Omicron-derived JN.1 variant. This initiative, supported by Blockchain for Impact, underscores the collaborative efforts aimed at mitigating the impact of the ongoing pandemic.

A recent comprehensive study conducted to validate OmiCrisp has yielded impressive results, demonstrating its efficacy in discerning single base changes even in poor-quality sewage samples. With support from Blockchain for Impact, the study showcased OmiCrisp’s remarkable accuracy of 99 percent in detecting the Omicron lineage in both clinical and wastewater samples, reaffirming its potential as a vital tool in the fight against COVID-19.

Prof. Vijay Chandru, Chief Scientific Officer, and Co-founder of CrisprBits, lauded the validation of OmiCrisp as a pioneering endeavor in employing CRISPR-based testing for environmental surveillance. The collaboration with C-CAMP-InDx and validation on clinical samples received support from DBT-inStem biorepository and the COVID testing laboratory at Strand Life Sciences. Dr. Taslimarif Saiyed, Director CEO of C-CAMP, commended CrisprBits for introducing CRISPR-Cas gene editing to environmental surveillance, offering a comprehensive diagnostic and screening tool for the Omicron variant with exceptional accuracy.

Founded in 2020 by alumni of BITS-Pilani, CrisprBits, incubated in C-CAMP, has garnered support from various grants and private funding. Dr. Vaijayanti Gupta, the company’s COO, highlighted the versatility of their CRISPR-based platform, emphasizing its utility in point-of-need testing for rapid and accurate molecular diagnostics across critical areas, including the detection of AMR pathogens and foodborne infections during disease outbreaks.

Looking ahead, CrisprBits is poised to launch its point-of-need instrument light platform, PathCrisp, in 2024, with a focus on clinical and environmental surveillance. This innovative initiative by CrisprBits represents a significant leap forward in India’s pandemic preparedness, leveraging cutting-edge research-based innovation to address the challenges posed by COVID-19 and other infectious disease outbreaks, ultimately contributing to societal well-being and public health on a global scale.

By Admin

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