Armed with special protective gear — including safety gowns, spectacles, N-95 masks and gloves –scientists at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune are working”round-the-clock” to ensure smooth testing of samples for the deadly coronavirus, while hand-holding associate centres spread across the country.
The day at NIV — the country’s premier virus testing centre — starts with the scientists going into a huddle to chalk out the strategy, which includes testing fresh cases for COVID-19, reconfirming ones that have already tested positive,and providing support and guidance to other labs, a senior scientist at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said.
“In the last one month, we have tested around 4,000 samples across the country.Every day, on an average, 25 samples are being tested at NIV,” Raman R Gangakhedkar, head of the Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases-I (ECD-I), Division of ICMR told reporters.
In the wake of 39 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in India so far, the Union Health Ministry has made 52 laboratories functional for testing samples while 57 labs have been designated for helping in sample collection to enhance the capacity for diagnosis and detection of the virus.
As of March 6, a total of 4,058 samples from 3,404 individuals have been tested by the network, officials said.
Gangakhedkar explained that if 10 samples, for example, are received in a day at NIV, five of these come in the morning, three by evening and two around night.