CSIR-IIP to set up viral testing facility to fight COVID-19

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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New Delhi, May 01 (Umashankar Mishra ): COVID-19 testing centres were opened in two of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) labs and with their training, 16 CSIR labs across the country are involved in testing for the virus, and the numbers are increasing steadily. Now Dehradun based CSIR’s  constituent laboratory Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) is establishing an RT-PCR based COVID-19 testing facility.

CSIR has planned a community testing strategy that will ensure to keep track of new outbreaks and thus restrict them before they can spread. “CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum has always believed in working for National causes. Testing samples for COVID-19 is another opportunity where we assure our full commitment in line with protocols and standard operating procedures defined by the ICMR. This new COVID-19 testing facility will be capable of processing at least 30 patient samples per day with appropriately trained manpower and adequate Biosafety precautions”, said Dr Anjan Ray, Director, CSIR-IIP.

The Biochemistry and Biotechnology team at CSIR-IIP is receiving continuous expert guidance from CSIR’s specialized Biological Sciences Laboratories – CSIR-IGIB (Delhi), CSIR-IMTECH (Chandigarh) and CSIR-CCMB (Hyderabad) to enable their effective participation in fight against coronavirus.

भारतीय पेट्रोलियम संस्थान में स्थापित होगा कोविड-19 परीक्षण केंद्र

CSIR-IIP is in constant touch with Uttarakhand state health ministry and all Government hospitals to make the facility fully operational and initiate testing by mid-May.  This state-of-the-art testing facility will be available for the long term as a state resource centre for viral testing, as well as a key part of the planned environmental biotechnology centre of excellence at CSIR-IIP.

“This effort will augment the capacity of the limited public testing facilities across Uttarakhand and help share a load of patient samples from the populous Dehradun district, which is currently supported for testing only by AIIMS (Rishikesh) and Doon Hospital.  Additionally, CSIR-IIP is also planning to adopt a faster micro RT-PCR based analysis method for sample screening under the technical supervision of CSIR-IGIB”, said Dr Ray.

What is real-time reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) technique,

Health experts believe that more testing can help in surveillance of COVID-19 outbreak.

One of the commonly accepted methods of diagnosis approved by “World Health Organization” (WHO) is through the real-time reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) technique, wherein the researchers extract nucleic acid from the collected samples from individuals (typically either a nasal or throat swab, or saliva) and amplify parts of the viral genome via RT-PCR. The test is positive if the samples harbour any viral RNA and return a negative result if the viral RNA is absent.

Other than this testing effort, CSIR-IIP is providing the free supply of in-house produced hand sanitizer in bulk to local hospitals and police stations, and masks to sanitation workers and needy migrants.  We are also developing a low-cost oxygen concentrator for medical use, using the lab’s industry-proven capability of adsorptive gas separation.  (India Science Wire)

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