Cipla partners with Premier Medical Corporation to launch COVID-19 rapid antigen test kits in India

The test is a rapid point-of-care nasopharyngeal swab test that directly detects the presence or absence of COVID-19 antigen in the patient’s body, generating results within 15-20 minutes.
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Drug major Cipla on Wednesday announced its partnership with the Premier Medical Corporation Pvt Ltd for commercialisation of the rapid antigen test kits for COVID-19 in India.

"In this collaboration, Cipla will be responsible for the marketing and distribution of the Rapid Antigen Detection Test for the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2 antigen that will be manufactured by Premier Medical Corporation Pvt Ltd," Cipla said in a regulatory filing.

The company said it will commence supply of rapid point-of-care nasopharyngeal swab tests from this week.

The test is a rapid point-of-care nasopharyngeal swab test that directly detects the presence or absence of coronavirus antigen in the patient’s body, generating results within 15-20 minutes. Only authorised labs are permitted by ICMR to conduct rapid antigen testing. The test will be marketed under the brand name ‘CIPtest’.

“CIPtest is a reliable high-performing kit that has been validated and approved by ICMR. It is found to have specificity and sensitivity of 98.09 percent and up to 75 percent respectively. It is not only rapid with a quick turn-around time, but also enables easy interpretation of results without the need of any additional instrument. Cipla’s expansive distribution network will help in ensuring supply of kits across the country,” the company statement added.

Shares of Cipla were trading 0.29 percent higher at Rs 783.95 apiece on the BSE.

Earlier in June, India's Drug Regulator gave permission to Hetero and Cipla to manufacture and market antiviral drug Remdesivir for "restricted emergency use" on hospitalised COVID-19 patients, official sources said.

The Union Health Ministry, in its 'Clinical Management Protocols for COVID-19', recommended the use of the Remdesivir on patients in the moderate stage of the disease, that is, those on oxygen. The drug has been included as an "investigational therapy" only for restricted emergency use purposes.

It is not recommended for those with severe renal impairment and high-level of liver enzymes, pregnant, and lactating women, and those below 12 years, the document on 'Clinical Management Protocols for COVID-19' stated.

The drug, administered in the form of injection, should be given at a dose of 200 mg on day one followed by 100 mg daily for five days.

Cipla and Hetero Labs have already entered into non-exclusive licensing agreements with US pharma giant Gilead Sciences, which is the patent holder of the drug Remdesivir.

(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context)

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

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