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Union Minister Harsh Vardhan Launched India’s First Mobile Lab For COVID-19 Testing

Fight COVID-19: I-LAB, a mobile diagnostic unit has been launched to address the shortage of critical healthcare technologies in India

Union Minister Harsh Vardhan Launched India’s First Mobile Lab For COVID-19 Testing
  • The mobile testing laboratory can conduct test for COVID-19, HIV, others
  • For COVID, it can carry out RT-PCR and ELISA tests
  • I-lab has been built at AMTZ in a record time of 8 days

New Delhi: In an attempt to promote last-mile testing access in rural India, on Thursday (June 18), Union Minister for Health, Dr Harsh Vardhan launched India’s first mobile lab for COVID-19 testing. The Infectious Disease Diag Lab (I-Lab) – Rapid Response Mobile Laboratory has been developed with the support from the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology and Andhra Pradesh Med-tech Zone (AMTZ) under DBT-AMTZ COMManD (COVID Medtech Manufacturing Development) Consortia. The main aim of the mobile lab is to address the shortage of critical healthcare technologies in India and move progressively towards a stage of self-sufficiency.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: Different Types Of Tests For COVID-19 And Their Efficacy

Developed in partnership with Transasia – a diagnostic company, Scient Infra and Kalyani Cleantech, the I-lab has Bio-Safety Level two (BSL-2) facilities. Touted as India’s first mobile COVID lab, it was built in eight days at a cost of around Rs. 1 crore.

I-Lab is capable of conducting both COVID-19 and non-COVID tests and give results the same day. For COVID, it can carry out reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) tests.

While RT-PCR test is a COVID-19 diagnosis test, ELISA test looks for antibodies developed by an individual against the virus. ELISA test tells whether an individual was infected with the virus anytime in the past and has now developed antibodies against it.

Also Read: COVID-19 Testing Capacity Reaches 3 Lakhs Samples A Day: Health Ministry

According to the information shared by Dr Harsh Vardhan on twitter, I-lab can run 50 RT-PCR and 200 ELISA tests in a day. Double set of machines can help increase the capacity to about 500 per day in 8 hours shift, noted Dr Vardhan.

Addressing the media at the launch of the I-Lab, Dr Vardhan talked about the deployment of the mobile van and said,

In rural areas were laboratories are not there; samples are usually transported which takes time. Therefore, this mobile van will come handy both during and after the Coronavirus outbreak. The I-Lab will be deployed in the interior, inaccessible parts of the country.

Along with this, it has the facility to test for Tuberculosis (TB), HIV and others, as per CGHS (Central Government Health Scheme) rates. To ensure the quality of tests, it is being attached to the Department of Biotechnology’s certified testing centres.

Also Read: Delayed Admissions And Lack Of Healthcare Workers, Doctors Talk About The Challenges Faced By Hospitals In Tackling COVID-19

Dr Vardhan also informed that the mobile van has been set up in a way that it can be disengaged and transported to anywhere through railways.

Further talking about India’s COVID-19 testing capacity and how the nation has scaled it up in the last few months, Dr Vardhan said,

Back in February, we started the fight against COVID with one laboratory. Today, we have 953 laboratories across the country. Out of these 953, around 699 are government labs. The fight against COVID-19 has proven that even if India has fewer resources when compared to its population, it can manufacture things. In compared to other countries, we have been successful in the fight against COVID-19.

Also Read: Should People Wear Mask While Exercising? Can Shoes Spread COVID-19 Virus? Here Are Some New Coronavirus Mythbusters From WHO

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