Bengaluru: Karnataka government has ramped up its Covid testing capacity with 81 laboratories across the state which test more than 20,000 samples every day. Yet, the labs fail to perform to their capacities as more than 10,000 samples were pending last week.
“Many labs are either short of staff or they need to upgrade their equipment. The government wants to test more than 30,000 samples daily which will be one of the highest in the country. We are working in tandem with the like Indian Institute of Science to ramp up our facilities,” a senior doctor working closely with the Covid task force anonymously said.
Amidst this the major concern of the government has been to test the clusters where it takes a minimum of three days to come up with results.
In a short span of three months, the mobile Covid testing center developed by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in association with Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) will reduce the turnaround time. The labs have been handed over to the state government to carry out Covid tests free of cost.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) approved mobile labs can be taken to a location of clusters where testing needs to be done and results can be delivered the same day. The mobile labs developed with Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) will reduce turnaround time while retaining the throughputs as that of centralized labs.
Professor Sai Siva Gorthi from IISc Department of Instrumentation and Applied Physics who has headed the project stated, “Since the samples from far off locations need to be shipped to get the testing done as well as there are huge backlogs at those centers which together increases the total turnaround time, these mobile labs can be taken to the location of clusters where testing needs to be done and results can be delivered within the same day. The researcher elaborated that if labs are operated at 2-shifts per day, which is the case in many labs, 6000 samples can be processed per month by the sample prep and sample processing labs. The testing capacity of MITR Labs can offer RT-PCR testing of about 18000 tests/month.”
The concept behind the lab is implemented in terms of the hub and spoke model. A 20-foot container equipped with storage, reagents/kits aliquotion area, and bio-waste management facilities will serve as the nodal hub, while the mobile sample collection, processing and testing labs will serve as the satellites or spokes.
The hub and its satellite labs can travel to infected areas with the hub parked at a location while the labs for sample collection, processing and testing will travel through the district collecting and analyzing samples.The hub is stocked with enough PPE kits to sustain the operation of the mobile lab fleet for a week.