COVID-19 testing labs

Amidst spike in demand for testing facilities for COVID-19, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has invited applications from government and private medical colleges to establish more such facilities.

There are some criteria which have to be met by the colleges pertaining to infrastructure and expertise to qualify for making applications.

They should have biosafety level-2 laboratory along with a molecular biology set-up for virological diagnosis and a functioning and calibrated biosafety cabinet type 2A/2B, a ET report quoting ICMR statement said.

In addition, the labs should also have a cold centrifuge for RNA extraction, and a functional and calibrated real-time PCR machine.

The applicants should ensure the availability of staff, like medical microbiologists with experience of work in molecular virology and at least 4-6 technicians so that they can work in shifts.

Private laboratory applicants have to submit a copy of NABL-accreditation certificate and scope of accreditation for real-time PCR for RNA viruses.

According to the ICMR, applications should be accompanied with pictures of the laboratory infrastructure.

“With a view to preparing for the worst-case scenario, the ICMR has taken a number of steps towards enhancing the number of labs, machines and test kits required to test suspected cases across the country,” it said in a statement on Monday.

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