CSIR-IMTECH steps in to take up 100 sample testing a day for COVID-19, move to boost India’s testing capacity | India News

NEW DELHI: In order to overcome Covid-19 testing challenge which is mainly due to availability of limited number of test kits, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Institute of Microbial Technology (CSIR-IMTECH) has stepped up to take up sample testing for coronavirus.
The IMTECH, Chandigarh-based public sector scientific institution, will initially carry out testing of 50 to 100 samples a day. It’ll subsequently be ramped up in coming days, if needed.
As of now, India has primarily been testing patients with a travel history. It is, however, pointed out at several scientific forums that the rate of testing should improve in terms of testing per million population.
“The initiative of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to involve all government-accredited labs is a welcome step and will be a game changer in testing of Covid-19 samples. This would increase the testing rate among suspected patients. In the initial phase, the IMTECH plans to operationalise capabilities to carry out testing of 50 to 100 samples a day, which can be subsequently ramped up as and when required,” said Sanjeev Khosla, director, IMTECH.
Meanwhile, the home ministry has already exempted laboratories from lockdown restrictions. This includes the testing laboratories in the private sector for Covid-19 samples.
“These samples are collected through various collection centres, and thereafter transported to the aforesaid laboratories. It is reiterated that the opening up of temporary collection centres, movement of lab technicians and transportation of samples from the collection centres to the laboratories is to be allowed and exempted from any lockdown restrictions on movement,” said the ministry while referring to its lockdown guidelines in a statement on Saturday.
It, however, emphasised that all movement of persons with the passes would be subject to “strict adherence to norms for hygiene and social distancing” as is required in the context of Covid-19.
The CSIR-IMTECH’s move is in line with the directives issued by the Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to central government and the advisory issued by the ICMR to operationalise Covid-19 testing by laboratories affiliated to Department of Science and Technology (DST), Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).
The INTECH has augmented its capabilities to carry out clinical testing for Covid-19 and has the necessary expertise in molecular microbiology.
“The lab has the requisite infrastructure including Biosafety Level (BSL)-3 facility as the labs are advised to take all appropriate biosafety and bio-security precautions before testing. A newly constructed BSL-2+ virology lab equipped with Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) equipment has also been established,” said the science and technology ministry in a statement on Saturday.
It said, “All the mandatory approvals required for testing of clinical samples have been obtained to operationalise testing at the earliest. Apart from testing of clinical samples, the CSIR-IMTECH is also supporting healthcare professionals by providing Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to prevent them from contracting any infection while serving patients.”

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