mWRAPR, is a biological transportation and storage medium for gene sequencing laboratories, biobanks, and research facilities managing biological samples for molecular studies, has been launched by Azooka Labs, a startup incubated by the SID (Society for Innovation and Development) in the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.).
The topic has a very high chance of being asked as a Science and Technology Question in UPSC Prelims or as a Current Affairs Question, as it has been in the news recently.
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mWRAPR is India’s first homegrown bio-sample kit, a biological transportation and storage medium which can help preserve genetic content in a variety of biological specimens such as microbiomes, saliva, tissues, cells, blood, bodily fluid, and faeces. It is the only Molecular Transport Medium made in India that competes with well-known global brands’ sample stabilization and transport media.
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- With a worldwide supply chain shortage limiting access to materials for molecular diagnostics, particularly in research, India is becoming increasingly important as a manufacturer.
- Although most high-quality storage and transportation mediums for biological samples is created outside of India, this is a new development towards making India self-reliant as well as step up to capture the global market.
- India needed to transition to molecular tests PCR (polymerase chain reaction) / RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) tests, however, the specimen collection kits being used at the time were not of molecular grade, as they were low-cost nutrient-based medium with a high risk of contamination by foreign agents. The type of molecular graded sample collection media that India needs right now is RNA (Ribonucleic Acid) WRAPR.
- The indigenously developed kit would be much cheaper than the imported kits, which would help India scale up testing and research about the COVID-19 virus. This price factor would also help India deal with the pandemic with lesser strain on its treasury.
- The kit developed in India is comparatively cheaper than foreign brands due to its lower production cost. This can help India capture the global market for this product and help in the economic development of the nation.
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