PGIMER pegs Covid-19 test costs at ₹8 crore a month
The Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research estimates that its Covid-19 testing expenditure will come to Rs 8 crore a month, following the Union government orders to Centrally funded institutes to independently procure materials for the tests.
Earlier provided by the Indian Council of Medical Research, the testing kits will now have to be procured by the institutes.
“Soon after the outbreak there was a shortage of kits and reagents required for testing and thus a centralised system for distribution was set up. However, now there is no shortage and most of the products are available online through Government eMarketplace (GeM). Thus, the Central government is of the view that the institutes can buy as per their requirement directly, so we have started that process,” said a senior officer of the institute requesting anonymity.
PGIMER conducts around 900 tests a day on samples from Chandigarh city, parts of Punjab and UT of Ladakh as well, conducting a total of more than 50,000 tests till now.
The institute conducts reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), GeneXpert, and Rapid Antigen tests to detect and confirm Covid-19.
Testing costs include Rs 2,300 for GeneXpert, Rs 1,300 for RT-PCR and Rs 600 for antigen.
Being a costly test, GeneXpert is conducted only in emergency cases while RT-PCR is conducted routinely. Due to less reliability, antigen tests are not being promoted much.
Dr Jagat Ram, director, PGIMER, said the institute conducted nearly 30,000 tests a month for which estimated costs had been worked out and sent to the Central government.
The amount also includes other items required for Covid-19 treatment.