Omicron: Punjab's lone genome lab in Patiala runs out of test kits

Omicron: Punjab's lone genome lab in Patiala runs out of test kits

Karam Prakash

Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 7

Amid the tsunami of Covid-19 cases, the efforts to detect and isolate the cases of the Omicron variant have been severely hit because the state’s only genome sequencing laboratory, at Government Medical College here, has run out of the testing kits. The laboratory detects the prevalence of the new mutation in the virus.

Countrywide shortage

We gave around 100 kits this week to the lab, but there is a shortage of kits in the country. We are trying to provide more kits to the state lab. — Dr Rajesh Bhasker, State Nodal Officer

Currently, the laboratory does not have even a single testing kit for the genome sequencing. It is learnt that the laboratory has, so far, tested only 532 Covid positive samples while 96 tests are pending.

Dr Rajesh Bhasker, state nodal officer, said, “We have given around 100 kits this week to the lab. There is a shortage of kits in the country. We are doing what we can to provide more kits to the state lab.”

Sources said the lab, owing to the shortage of the kits, was testing only international travellers from high-risk countries. Patiala Deputy Commissioner recently said Omicron variant was the potential virus behind the recent outbreak at Government Rajindra Hospital and Medical College. However, tests to ascertain the prevalence of Omicron could not be carried out due to the shortage of kits. Also, samples of cases at Thapar university, last week, also could not be tested.

Lab officials informed that they had processed around 96 samples for Omicron on Thursday, but the reports might take more than a week.

Tribune Shorts


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