Sikkim gets first COVID-19 testing lab, continues corona free status

Sikkim gets first COVID-19 testing lab, continues corona free status

Sikkim gets COVID-19 testing lab, continues corona free Sikkim gets COVID-19 testing lab, continues corona free

Sikkim has filled up the deficit of a COVID-19 testing lab after the inauguration of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) certified laboratory at STNM Hospital at Sochaygang, which is dedicated for COVID-19 treatment.

Speaking to the media persons, Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang said, “With the establishment of the Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratory, Sikkim will no longer have to depend on other States for COVID-19 and other medical tests.”

Also read: Sikkim to convert schools, halls to COVID-19 quarantine centres

Earlier, the samples were sent to North Bengal Medical College and Hospital, Siliguri, for testing for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The Sikkim Chief Minister further informed that the installation of the laboratory has been completed within a record time of 35 days amid unprecedented challenges and constraints.

Situated on the 9th floor of the COVID-19 dedicated hospital in Sikkim, the laboratory has the capacity to conduct 90 tests at a time. Each batch (90 samples) will take five hours to deliver the test results. The initial process of RNA Extraction will take three and a half hours, followed by one and a half hours of actual testing. The VRD Laboratory will initially be manned by one Microbiologist and two laboratory technicians. Subsequent batches of lab technicians are being trained to replace the present batch in the stipulated time frame.

Also read: Sikkim woman stranded in Gujarat dies in Madhya Pradesh

However, the RNA Extraction Kit and all the required consumables to be used in the VRD Laboratory will go for a final round of validation by the ICMR after which the Laboratory will be fully functional. As per information received from senior health officials, the Laboratory should be in a position to start the process of testing from Monday, May 26th, 2020.

It may be mentioned here that 75 percent of the cost of construction and establishment of the Laboratory in Sikkim was funded by ICMR, while 25 percent of the cost was borne by Alkem Laboratories Pvt. Ltd. from its CSR fund.

The ICMR has procured the equipment and consumables for the Laboratory through the National Institute of Pathology, Noida.

It may be reminded that the STNM Hospital has been conducting regular tests through the TrueNat machines available with the Hospital. To date, out of 583 samples tested through the TrueNat Testing Machine, 459 samples have tested negative for Covid-19, while the results of the remaining samples are awaited.

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