The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has shortlisted Metropolis Labs for private diagnostic of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Metropolis, a pan-India diagnostic chain will start testing for the infection once the MoHFW gives the approval.
As per a spokesperson from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the Ministry is expected to release an official notification regarding the private testing for the virus soon. As quoted by a national daily, private labs need prior approval from respective municipal bodies for possessing adequate infrastructure and quality control before being selected by the Health Ministry.
Metropolis lab has gained the approval from Municipal“Metropolis has been selected and approved by the Mumbai Municipal Commissioner for Covid-19 testing. We are awaiting the formal notification from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. We are in constant communication with the government,” said a source from the top management of the company.
As an offshoot of the Metropolis Global Reference Laboratory, Metropolis has set up a dedicated and isolated Covid-19 laboratory in Mumbai. The lab is presently capable of conducting 2,000 tests a day, which can further be scaled up if needed.
Over 11,500 throat swabs have been tested by the Ministry as of yet. The swabs have been taken from persons with travel history to coronavirus-infected regions and their contacts who have exhibited symptoms of cough, cold, heavy breathing, fever and so on.
Although the tets for COVID-19 costs around ₹5,000 in the public sector but the tests are being conducted for free as the ICMR has appealed the private labs to conduct the tests for free. However, it is not clear if the labs will be reimbursed by the government.
Ameera Shah, Managing Director, Metropolis Healthcare confirmed, “Currently, the government is doing an efficient job of handling the crisis and, if the need arises, we are ready to step in and take over the additional load. We have put together a Covid Task force and the most important task of this team is to ensure accurate testing, the safety of patients and employees.”
The private healthcare brand has conducted multiple training sessions and is also getting another facility ready as a standby. Metropolis is expected to get the facility up and working in seven days.