The Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB), which is based at Thiruvananthapuram in the South of India, has developed a kit that can diagnose classical swine flu in pigs.
Field trials of the blood-based diagnostic kit that can be used out in the field are nearly complete, and the commercial product is expected to be launched in the next three months, according to RGCB director Prof M Radhakrishna Pillai.
“Tens of thousands of small and marginal farmers in parts of the North and North-east of India are heavily dependent on pig farming for their livelihood,” he said. “Classical Swine Flu can wipe out entire herds and have a crippling impact on these farmers.
“This kit will be available at an affordable price for farmers to easily check for infection in animals and help control the spread of the disease.”
The test has been developed in partnership with biotechnology startup Ubio, one of the two start-ups set up at the biotech park to work on prototype classical swine flu detection systems developed by RGCB and scale them up for mass production.