Ghaziabad’s only TrueNat machine out of order for three daysUpdated: Jun 30, 2020 00:01 IST
The district’s only TrueNat machine is out of order for the past three days after it developed a snag, severely affecting the Covid-19 testing in emergency cases, health officials said on Monday.
The basic purpose of the TrueNat machine was to get results within an hour about the Covid-19 status of the patient who required emergency treatment such as a surgery. The machine had arrived in Ghaziabad about a fortnight ago to boost the testing capabilities in the district.
“The machine is out of order for past three days. We had called up an engineer, but he was unable to repair it due to want of a component. We have already intimated twice the issue to the company. As of now, we are taking up tests through antigen kits which have recently been provided to the district,” said Dr Anurag Bhargava, chief medical superintendent of MMG District Hospital where the machine is installed.
In May, the use of TrueNat machine was validated by the Indian Council of Medical Research for confirmatory detection of Sars-CoV-2 virus to boost testing capacities. While RT-PCR test results come in 24 to 48 hours, antigen testing, which provides results within half-an-hour, does not provide ‘true’ negative result of a patient, the officials said.
The Ghaziabad health department had been carrying out about 30 to 40 tests through TrueNat machine, but the activity is now being taken up through antigen test kits, the officials said.
“The TrueNat provides ‘true’ negative status of a Covid-19 patient while the antigen test provides ‘true’ positive result of a patient. In case the test result is not positive through antigen testing, we have to get negative result confirmed through RT-PCR test which takes time. As the TrueNat machine is out of order, it has hampered the testing,” said Dr NK Gupta, chief medical officer.
The TrueNat testing was also getting done in cases related to deliveries of women patients at the district women’s hospital. Doctors at the women’s hospital said they cannot stop deliveries even if they have to wait for the test results.
“The reports of two patients were received after the deliveries. So, we got our doctors and nurses, who attended the deliveries, tested for Covid-19. But their reports turned negative. So, in absence of TrueNat test, we are taking risk as deliveries cannot be stopped or postponed,” said Dr Deepa Tyagi, chief medical superintendent of women’s hospital.
The CMO said that one more TureNat machine has been sanctioned by the government and will arrive for the women’s hospital.
At present, the Ghaziabad district has daily sampling capability of about 450 samples, including about 50 taken up by private labs, and these are sent to RT-PCR labs in Noida, Meerut or Delhi for testing purposes.