Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Dry Swab-Direct RT-PCR method

Topics Covered: Indigenization of technology.

Dry Swab-Direct RT-PCR method:


To ramp up COVID-19 testing, ICMR approves dry swab-direct RT-PCR method.

  • It has been Developed by CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB).

First, let us understand how the conventional method works?

In the conventional testing method, nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swab samples collected are generally placed in a liquid called Viral Transport Medium (VTM).

  • To avoid leakage, they are packed heavily that adds on to sample processing times at both the sample collection and testing centres.

What is Dry Swab-Direct RT-PCR method?

  • This is a simple variation of the existing gold standard RT-PCR method.
  • This method involves collecting and transporting the nasal swab in dry state which makes the transportation and handling of the samples easy and less prone to spillage and spread of infection.
  • In this method, the step of RNA isolation from the sample has been omitted, and it involves only simple processing of the sample followed by direct RT-PCR using the kit recommended by the ICMR.


  1. Cost effective.
  2. Easy to implement with no requirement of new kits.
  3. Existing manpower can perform this with no additional training.
  4. Can ramp up the testing capacity in the country quickly


Prelims Link:

  1. Difference between RNA and DNA.
  2. Differences between RT PCR and antibody tests.
  3. What is a RNA virus? How it survives?
  4. What are antibodies?
  5. What is dry swab test?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of dry swab RT- PCR test.

Sources: PIB.