Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 3
In a major boost to increase testing rate among suspected coronavirus patients, the Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH) here will take up testing of Covid-19 sample. In the initial phase, IMTECH plans to operationalise capabilities to test of 50 to 100 samples a day, which can be subsequently ramped up as and when required.
IMTECH has already augmented its capabilities to carry out clinical testing for COVID-19 and has the necessary expertise in molecular microbiology. The institute has the requisite infrastructure, including Bio-Safety Level (BSL) -3 facility, as the labs are advised to take all appropriate bio-safety 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. All the mandatory approvals required for testing of clinical samples have been obtained to operationalise testing at the earliest.
This is in line with the directives issued by the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India and an advisory issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to operationalise COVID-19 testing by laboratories under Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and other labs affiliated to Department of Science and Technology, Department of Bio-Technology and the Department of Atomic Energy.
With a limited number of test kits available, India has been primarily testing patients with a travel history and is currently ranked lowest in terms of testing per million population and this step by ICMR to involve all government accredited labs will be a game changer in testing of COVID-19 samples.
IMTECH, a laboratory under the CSIR, is engaged in research in many areas of modern biological sciences and microbe-related biotechnology, with special emphasis on research that is interdisciplinary and of a collaborative nature, such as immunity and infectious diseases, protein design and engineering, fermentation science, microbial physiology and genetics, bioinformatics and microbial systematics, exploitation of microbial diversity for bio-actives and enzymes for bio-transformations.
Apart from testing clinical samples, IMTECH is also supporting health care professionals by providing Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to prevent them from contracting any infection while serving patients. The institute is also extending help to the local administration and Red Cross Unit of Chandigarh by providing the logistical and infrastructure support.
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