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Diagnostic kit for deadly pig disease

Press Trust of India  |  Thiruvananthapuram 

The Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) today said that it has developed a kit that can diagnose a deadly contagious disease affecting pigs.

Field trials of the blood-based on-field diagnostic kit for Classical Swine Flu are nearly complete and the commercial product is expected to be launched in the next three months, said Prof M Radhakrishna Pillai, Director, Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB).

"Tens of thousands of small and marginal farmers in parts of the North and Northeast are heavily dependent on pig farming for their livelihood. Classical Swine Flu can wipe out entire herds and have a crippling impact on these farmers," Pillai said.

He said the kit would come for an affordable price for farmers to easily check for infection in animals and help control the spread of the disease.

Developed in partnership with biotechnology startup Ubio, the diagnostic kit was one of the first products lined up for commercialisation since the Thiruvananthapuram-based autonomous RGCB took over the management of KINFRA Biotech Park in Kalamassery, Kochi, last month, a release said today.

Designed as an incubator for biotechnology start-ups to encourage more industry-academia tie-ups, Biotech Park will be managed for the next five years by RGCB which aims to help nurture at least 15 startup companies at the facility.

Ubio is one of the two start-ups set up at the Biotech Park to work on two prototype Classical Swine Flu detection systems developed by RGCB and scale them up for mass production.

Pillai said the product was the first of many that are expected to come out of the Biotech Park in the coming years.

So far, RGCB had focused on human diseases like cancer, TB, dengue and cholera.

A bio-innovation centre (BIC), a hub for development of cancer vaccines, immunotherapeutics, molecular diagnostics, biomarkers and nano drug delivery systems, is the RGCB's next stage of expansion.

On September 30, UPA Chairperson will lay the foundation stone of BIC which is coming up on a 20-acre campus at Akkulam in the state capital.

Besides research and development activities, the centre will also offer world-class biotechnology education and training.

First Published: Fri, September 27 2013. 20:36 IST