Three private laboratories in the Capital have been give permission to test H1N1 samples, reducing the load on government hospitals.
From Wednesday, people can get tested for H1N1 at Dr Lal Pathlabs, Dr Dang's Laboratory and Auroprobe Laboratories.
While Dr Lal Pathlabs and Dr Dang’s Laboratory have set a rack price of Rs 10,000 for all H1N1 testing, Auroprobe Laboratories is yet to do so.
These labs will also conduct H1N1 testing for the government to help clear the backlog of samples that are reaching Delhi’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) from across the country.
“We were waiting for our team of microbiologists to give a certification to these laboratories. It has now come through. These three laboratories will be now be allowed to collect their own samples, conduct tests and give reports independent of government interference,” said Kiran Walia, health minister, Delhi.
“We have no role in determining the price for testing but on our part have set a limit beyond in accordance with what it costs the government which they should not exceed,” she said.
The decision comes in the wake of H1N1 samples piling up in NCDC. One such example is of the Civil Hospital in Gurgaon, which is yet to get tests results for samples collected as early as August 8.
“Reports are coming to us in haphazard manner. H1N1 test results for two girls whose samples were sent on August 17 have tested positive. But almost 70 sample results are still pending,” said Dr Neelam Thapar, medical officer, Civil Hospital, Gurgaon.
The decision to allow private labs to conduct tests comes as a breather to people like Sanjeev Verma whose gave his son’s sample for testing on August 11 and have not received any result so far.
“Yes, we have got a nod but we are still to decide on the cost. But it will certainly be as close to the cost as our profit margins will be very low,” said Dr Nimrat Bawa, director of Auroprobe Laboratories.
“We are already testing for the government and opening our facility for people will be another step forward,” said Dr Arvind Lal of Dr Lal Pathlabs.