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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 18-23

Determining the feasibility of constructing a real-time polymerase chain reaction instrument locally: The cost of intellectual property rights and research and development

1 Department of Bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA
2 Department of Microbiology, Tata Medical Center, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sanjay Bhattacharya
14 Major Arterial Road (E-W), Newtown, Rajarhat, Kolkata - 700 160, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jacm.jacm_45_21

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BACKGROUND: Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines have advanced the field of microbiology by introducing a robust method for high-throughput detection of nucleic acid targets. Unfortunately, these instruments are quite expensive to purchase and maintain, despite containing hardware parts that are relatively inexpensive. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: We believe that it may be possible to mitigate costs in low- and middleincome countries (LMICs) by building such a PCR instrument from assembled parts. However, the major hindrance is the cost of intellectual property rights (IPRs), associated with research and development (R and D). The aim of this project was to understand the hardware costs, IPR royalties, profit margins, and the cost of R and D associated with PCR instrument manufacturing. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We conducted a review of two PCR machines to examine the differences in their technical and hardware specifications and quantify the cost of assembled parts alone. We also ran a parallel assay using the two machines to understand how the differences in technologies affected assay results. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Based on our analysis, we found that assembling a PCR machine using assembled parts can make these instruments more affordable in LMICs. There is a need to have collaboration and agreement between machine licensing, patent, and copyright holders to facilitate this process in LMICs.

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