Five pvt labs in Gurugram authorised to test Covid samplesUpdated: Mar 30, 2020 22:46 IST
Five private diagnostic centres — Strand Life Sciences in Sector 34, SRL Limited in Sector 18, Core Diagnostics in Udyog Vihar’s Phase 3, Modern Diagnostics and Research Centre in Jawahar Nagar, and MoiQ Laboratory in Udyog Vihar’s Phase-4 — have been authorised to conduct the Covid-19 test in the city. These labs are in addition to the two government laboratories in Rohtak and Sonepat.
As per the Central government’s directive, these labs cannot charge more than ₹4,500 — ₹1,500 for screening and ₹3,000 for a confirmatory test.
On Monday, the district health department officials held a meeting with the representatives of the labs. “They are initiating the testing after the directives of the state government. As per the guidelines of the Union ministry of health and family welfare, these labs, approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), will provide daily updates on the sample collection of suspected cases. Only the suspected cases, those with flu-like symptoms and travel history, can be tested as done at the government labs,” said Dr Jaswant Singh Punia, chief medical officer.
As per a letter issued by the state health department on Sunday, private labs will be allowed to collect samples from residences of suspected patients, to avoid contact with them at the laboratory. These labs will have to reserve 50% of their testing capacity for the state health department, when the testing capacity of the government labs are exhausted. Also, the labs have to be registered on the ICMR portal to update the daily data on a real-time basis.
The ICMR, on March 21, issued the guidelines for private diagnostic labs authorised to conduct the Covid-19 test. “On Friday, we received the registration number from ICMR that authorises us to conduct the test,” said Zoya Brar, chief executive officer (CEO) and founder, Core Diagnostics.
“A separate facility has been set up in the Gurugram lab to perform the confirmatory polymerase chain reaction-based (PCR) Covid-19 test with all strains that are approved by the ICMR. Apart from this, dedicated staff will be assigned duties of accepting, cleaning and sanitising the samples, submission in lab, extraction and report preparation,” said Brar.
Health experts say it is crucial to expand testing to prevent community transmission of Covid-19. “We have not noticed any community transmission in the state till now. It is, however, crucial to expand the testing capacity since we are not sure of the trajectory of coronavirus cases in the short future,” said Dr Dhruv Chaudhary, head, department of pulmonary and critical care, Pandit Bhagwat Dayal Sharma Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS) Rohtak. He is also the nodal officer for Covid-19 tertiary care in the state.
Since March 14, PGIMS, Rohtak, has been analysing samples from Gurugram, Faridabad and other districts of the state. “Till now, we have conducted 576 Covid-19 tests, of which 22 were positive,” said Chaudhary.
Before March 14, samples from Haryana were being sent to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi for testing. Every day, the PGIMS, Rohtak, tests more than 60 samples. “The testing capacity is likely to increase to 500 in the next days,” he said.
A few samples are being sent to Bhagat Phool Singh Medical College in Khanpur Kalan of Sonepat.
Chaudhary said that government labs in the state are receiving diagnostic kits and reagents for PCR from the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune. Private labs will have to arrange these commercial kits on their own, which has to be US FDA approved or European CE certified, as per the ICMR guideline. ICMR-NIV Pune has validated and recommended real-time PCR kits manufactured by Indian manufacturers. Once these kits receive approval from drug controller general of India, labs undertaking Covid-19 testing will be allowed to use them, in addition to the recommended kits.
Of the 22 positive cases reported in the state so far, 10 are from Gurugram, four each from Faridabad and Panipat and one each from Ambala, Panchkula, Palwal, and Sonepat. Of the 10 cases in Gurugram, six have recovered and discharged from private hospitals. Also, of the four Covid-19 patients in Faridabad, one has been discharged after full recovery.