India’s fight against COVID 19 virus is crucial at this moment. In this critical time, a Pune-based diagnostic firm developed the country’s first testing kit this week.
It is said that the first coronavirus testing kit hit Indian markets on Thursday, in a bid to increase the frequency of testing and to confirm or rule out the Covid-19 infection.
The person responsible for this remarkable achievement is Minal Dakhave Bhosale chief in research and development under Mylab.
The kit was developed in just six weeks. “Our kit gives the diagnosis in two and a half hours while the imported testing kits take six-seven hours,” Bhosale said in an interview with Hindustan Times.
The work on the programme started in February and submitted the kit to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) for evaluation on March 18th, just a day before delivering her daughter.
“It was an emergency, so I took this on as a challenge. I had to serve my nation,” she said, adding that her team of 10 worked “very hard” to make the project a success.
The company Mylabs Discovery Solutions received statutory approvals late on Monday from authorities and permitted to manufacture over 15,000 testing kits per day from its facility at Lonavala in Pune district and the same will be ramped up to 25,000 kits per day.
The first shipping batch of 150 kits sent to diagnostic labs in Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, Goa and Bengaluru (Bangalore) this week. “Our manufacturing unit is working through the weekend and the next batch will be sent out on Monday,” Dr Gautam Wankhede, Mylab’s director for medical affairs, told BBC.
The molecular diagnostic company, which also makes testing kits for HIV and Hepatitis B and C, and other diseases, says it can supply up to 100,000 Covid-19 testing kits a week and can produce up to 200,000 if needed.
Each Mylab kit can test 100 samples and costs Rs 1,200, about a quarter of the Rs 4,500 that India pays to import testing kits from abroad.
Initially, India insisted on testing only those who had travelled to high-risk countries or had come in contact with an infected person or health workers treating coronavirus patients. It later said that anyone admitted to hospital with severe respiratory distress would also be tested.
In the past few days, India has scaled up testing. Initially, only the state labs were allowed to test for coronavirus, but permission has now been extended to several private labs too.
India now has well over 1000 positive cases of coronavirus, but with the circle of infection widening daily, the numbers are expected to rise further.