Three Maharashtra labs testing coronavirus samples from other states too

Mumbai | Pune: Three laboratories in Maharashtra, which are currently burdened with the task of testing samples of suspected novel coronavirus patients, are analysing samples not only from the state, but also from the neighbouring regions.

Of these three facilities, the Pune-based National Institute of Virology (NIV) is a global referral laboratory, which gets samples even from SAARC countries for confirmation of various types of infections, including coronavirus, a senior official said on Thursday.

“Global referral means its reports are considered valid even in other countries,” he said.

Apart from the NIV, one lab is currently being operated at the Indira Gandhi Government Medical College and Hospital (IGGMCH) in Nagpur and the other one at Kasturba Hospital in Mumbai.

“All these labs are meant not only to cater to particular geographies. They are supposed to carry out tests as per the requirement, and samples can come from any corner of the country,” he said.

“Several samples of Indians stranded in Iran were flown back to India and taken to the NIV for confirmation. Once the reports were out, medication was administered to them,” he said, adding that samples from Maldives were also tested.

Testing period for coronavirus detection is six hours, he said.

When asked about the Nagpur-based lab and the areas it covers, he said, “Samples from Vidarbha region as well as samples from Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are sent to this facility.”

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope had said on Wednesday in Pune that around 10 new labs would be set up in the state in the coming days for testing samples of suspected coronavirus patients.

“Sample testing kits will be made available. The central government has approved 10 lakh new kits for all the labs in the country,” he said.

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