Punjab ramps up covid testing capability 10-fold, procures 5 RTPCR and 4 RNA extraction machines
Rapid testing to start soon, 10 lakh kits awaited from ICMR and inquiry floated in open market for 10000
Chandigarh: The Captain Amarinder Singh led Punjab Government has ramped up its Covid-19 testing capability by ten times with the procurement of 5 RTPCR and 4 RNA extraction machines (with automation) at a cost of Rs. 2.31 Crores, and is also preparing to launch rapid testing from April 10 to check the spread of contagion.
While 10 lakh Rapid Testing Kits, already ordered from ICMR, are awaited, the state government has also floated inquiry in the open market for another 10000 kits, according to Additional Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan, adding that antibody testing through Rapid Testing Kits has also now been allowed by ICMR in hotspots to check community spread of the coronavirus.
With the new equipment, the testing capacity of the Viral Research Diagnostic Labs (VRDL) in Government Medical Colleges at Patiala and Amritsar has gone up to 400 each from the existing 40, said Mahajan, adding that together these two labs have so far tested 1958 samples.
In addition, the Guru Gobind Singh Medical College & Hospital Faridkot has been put on fast-track for testing approval. It will have initial capacity of 40 tests per day.
Apart from state’s own labs, PGI Chandigarh has also been carrying out about 40 tests daily of samples from Punjab. About 650 tests have been carried out by PGI till date.
The state government has also sought urgent approvals from the Government of India for allowing similar testing facilities at DMC and CMC Ludhiana. Both the Ludhiana hospitals have already acquired the necessary equipment and applied for the NABL certification after which ICMR approval would be sought, said Mahajan.
Samples are being collected by the Health Department teams from various districts of Punjab, which now has 106 confirmed COVID-19 cases.