Mumbai News

Mumbai gets 2nd Covid-19 lab in record 2 weeks – Times of India

MUMBAI: The city got its second laboratory in a record two weeks as patients queuing up to test for coronavirus started increasing, Located at Parel’s KEM Hospital, the laboratory started with 25 samples on Thursday. Now plans have been set in motion to scale it up and add equipment. Before KEM, the PCR laboratory at Kasturba Hospital was the only one carrying out tests in the city.
On the seventh floor of the microbiology department, a biosafety cabinet was quickly created as soon as Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-Department of Health Research (DHR) granted permission and facilitated funds. The funds helped the hospital procure a PCR machine for molecular tests along with a device for extraction of viral RNA. Simultaneously, the department started preparing its personnel about what to expect and reiterated precautions that needed to be taken while dealing with biohazards.
Since Thursday, the laboratory has processed 60 samples. In each run, the machine can run 12 samples. Currently, six technical staff are carrying out tests under the supervision of microbiology teachers. “We spoke to technical personnel and assuaged their fears,” said Dr Geeta Nataraj, head of KEM microbiology.
Dean Dr Hemant Deshmukh said there are plans to shift the facility to a bigger set-up, which has been under construction for two months. “We are getting funds to procure a bigger machine that can process up to 45 samples. Once ready, the centre can handle more samples,” he said. The state is also setting up labs at JJ Hospital and Haffkine Institute.

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