UP’s institute among 4 top R&D org to do Covid tests | India News


New Delhi: After private medical laboratories, India’s premier research institutes, including one for palaeosciences, will also start Covid-19 testing. Four such institutes, all under the department of science and technology (DST), which have a lab with an existing molecular biology set up and fulfil other requirements, will test samples.
These include Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Science and Technology (SCTIMST) in Trivandrum, Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences in Lucknow, Agharkar Research Institute in Pune and Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bengaluru.
Dr Manoranjan Mohanty, director of autonomous institute division, DST, confirmed to TOI that four of 16 R&D institutes under the department will conduct Covid-19 testing. “They will collect samples from nodal ICMR centres in their respective states to begin testing.”
The move came after a no-objection letter by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The letter was also issued for institutes of eminence run by department of biotechnology, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and department of atomic energy (DAE).
In its letter, the ICMR said the research Institutes are of eminence under other research organisations and it would not conduct any site assessment nor accord approval for initiation of testing at these laboratories. “Secretary to the Government of India of the concerned departments may accord approval for initiation of testing as deemed appropriate,” the letter said.
The Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences is likely to start testing samples after April 17 and will use diagnostics kits by a Delhi-based private firm Redcliffe Life Sciences.
Niraj Rai, a senior scientist at the institute, told TOI, “We have a lab to analyse ancient fossils and a modern DNA lab equipped with sophisticated instruments and enough manpower to run a molecular biology lab. So we are well-equipped.”
The institute is likely to start testing samples after April 17 and will use diagnostic kits by a Delhi-based private firm Redcliffe Life Sciences. Ashish Dubey, co-founder of Redcliffe Life sciences, said each kit would cost the government between Rs 700 and Rs 1,000.
ICMR and the office of principal scientific advisor to Centre have jointly listed eight mandatory requirements for any government lab to be eligible to analyse nasal and throat swabs from suspected patients.These include a BSL-2 level lab facility with a molecular biology set up, cold centrifuge for RNA extraction, real-time Polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machine and a robust policy on biomedical waste of human origin among others.



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