Dry Swab-Direct RT-PCR Test Method

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved the “dry swab-direct RT-PCR testing method” to test the COVID-19 virus.


  • It has been developed by CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB).
  • This developed method is a simple variation of the conventional gold standard RT-PCR method.

Dry swab-direct RT-PCR testing method

This dry swab-direct RT-PCR testing method is a RNA-extraction free testing method to test for the COVID-19 virus. This method has been developed with an aim of scaling up the testing by two to three fold. It does not require new investment of resources. The method has a less cost and has a quick turn-around time. This method involves the collection and transportation of the nasal swab in its dry state. Thus, its transportation and handling is easy and less prone to spread of infection.

Why this method has been developed?

The CSIR-CCMB is involved in testing samples for coronavirus since April 2020. It recently identified some of the key issues in the convectional testing process that slow the testing process. In order to make the coronavirus testing process fast and simple, they developed the dry swab testing method.

How is it different from the conventional method?

In the conventional testing method, the samples of nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swab samples are collected and transported to the testing centres. They are transported to hundreds of kilometers away. These samples are placed in the liquid called the Viral Transport Medium (VTM).  These samples are packed heavily to avoid the leakage. This further increases the sample processing times at the sample collection as well as the testing centres.