PRESS RELEASE

THE NATIONAL RESEARCH AND INNOVATION AGENCY

NO: 007/SP/HM/BKPUK/I/2022

 

The RT-LAMP (reverse transcription loop mediated isothermal amplification) method is an innovation made by the Chemical Research Center of the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN). RT-LAMP is an alternative method for testing the Covid-19 virus using mostly Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) as the standard method. RT-LAMP is a Covid-19 detector without a PCR tool. The amplification reaction of the target gene using the RT-LAMP method lasts less than 1 hour so that the diagnosis of Covid-19 results can be obtained faster, with results as accurate as RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction).

Serpong, 12 January 2022. Pursuant to Decree of the Minister of Health of the Republic of Indonesia Number HK.01.07/MENKES/3602/2021, RT-LAMP is included under the category of molecular NAAT (Nucleic Acid Amplification test) the same as Quantitative Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (qRT) -PCR) test and Molecular Rapid Test (TCM), with excellent accuracy. The difference between RT-LAMP and RT-PCR is that in the process of amplification of the target gene, the RT-LAMP reaction takes place isothermally or at constant temperature, hence it does not require a thermocycler or PCR device.

The invention of RT-LAMP has been patented under registration number P00202110865 which has the system design using 2 ORF target genes and gene N, 6 primary sets, reverse transcriptase enzyme, polymerase enzyme; with a turbidity-based detection system.

The method found by BRIN researchers was developed in March 2020 with partner PT Biosains Medika Indonesia, which at that time was going to commercialize the product. Now RT-LAMP has already Medical Device Distribution Permit Number from the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia, namely AKD 2030322XXXX. The distribution permit for the product under the Qi-LAMP-O trademark is valid until January 2027.

BRIN’s Chemical Researcher, Tjandrawati Mozef is very grateful for the issuance of RT-LAMP distribution permit from the Ministry of Health. “With the issuance of a regular distribution permit for RT-LAMP as a result of BRIN’s research, now we have a new alternative to detect Covid-19. Moreover, several countries such as the Netherlands and Spain have also stipulated RT-LAMP as one of methods equivalent to RT-PCR used to detect Covid-19,” she explained. “The advantage of RT-LAMP as compared to RT-PCR is that apart from not requiring expensive PCR detection equipment, the kit price is also lower,” she added.

Tjandrawati said that at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, she and her team took the initiative to develop an alternative system to screen and detect the RNA of SARS-Cov-2 virus. “At that time, the tool to detect the virus was PCR. Meanwhile, the PCR equipment in Indonesia is very limited in number and available only in large laboratories. In addition, the reagents used for the PCR test are imported,” she explained.

“Until now the COVID-19 pandemic has not ended and new variants have emerged. This motivates us from BRIN to continue to conduct research, contribute to pandemic control, and support the Government’s program of 3T (tracing, testing and treatment),” she explained. To improve testing capability, she and her team proposed a new innovation, namely the RT LAMP method which can specifically detect genetic materials from the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

This RT-LAMP innovation product uses an RNA extract sample from nasal swab which can be detected qualitatively by observing the presence of precipitation with good accuracy. In addition, she said, RT-LAMP can also use a real-time turbidimeter that is the result of BRIN’s research and innovation, and research team from the Physics Research Center (Dr.Agus Sukarto Wismogroho) whose patent has been registered. “The accuracy can be increased on par with the RT-PCR system and the amplification reaction can be monitored in real-time,” she said.

She hopes that BRIN’s RT-LAMP can compete with its advantages. “The advantage of this product is that it does not require a thermocycler, it is fast and accurate,” she said. She further said that this BRIN innovation product can be applied to a wider range of communities, so that it can assist government programs in terms of increasing testing capacity nationally. In addition, the results of Covid-19 detection using RT-LAMP are expected to be used as an alternative for travel requirements documents,” She explained.

BRIN’S RT-LAMP is also being developed to be able to use saliva samples. This method is claimed to have very promising results. This tool is now in the process of application for distribution permit “In silico, RT-LAMP has been tested for specificity against SARS-CoV-2 variants, including the Delta and Omicron variants, with the results of; able to detect these variants,” said the Biochemistry/Pharmaceutical researcher.

In early 2022, cases of Covid-19 with the Omicron variant were detected in various countries. Although the Omicron symptoms do not show symptoms like the previous Covid variants, their spread is detected more rapidly. The way to detect whether someone is infected with the Omicron variant of Covid-19 or others is by using a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test kit and further analysis in the laboratory. This PCR method is the most accurate, but the test takes longer time and are relatively expensive.

According to Head of BRIN’s Engineering Science Research Organization (OR IPT), Agus Haryono, in anticipating spread of the new variant of Covid 19, his organization administers screening and testing, including using the RT-LAMP method. “Screening and testing are important keys in preventing the spread of Covid-19, including dealing with the Omicron variant,” he concluded.