A team led by Dr Souvik Maiti and Dr Debojyoti Chakraborty at the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research’s Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) in New Delhi have developed a test for detecting coronavirus in people.
The test is a paper-based test strip which works similarly to pregnancy tests. It therefore also requires no expertise to conduct and the results will be given in minutes as the paper changes colour. Just like a certain fictional detective could detect solutions in minutes.
The test is called the Feluda test strip, named for the fictional private investigator who solves mysteries quickly using his sharp intellect. The Feluda series are some of the most popular works by the renowned writer and filmmaker Satyajit Ray. Consisting of 35 published and 4 unpublished stories, the series has been enjoyed by many Indians, especially those in Bengal from where the author hailed. The Feluda series is so popular that it has several adaptations in films, television, comics and even radio plays!
One of the most difficult parts of this pandemic is detecting people who could possibly have the disease. The machinery is expensive and uncommon, and individual tests can prove to be expensive too. This innovation will undoubtedly help many doctors and patients worldwide.
It’s a true tribute to Satyajit Ray, whose centenary birth anniversary is next year, that something so vital was named after one of his characters. The fact that the scientists chose to name the test after Feluda, clearly gives an idea of the impact his literature had on the collective psyche of Indians.