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Govt. nod sought to set up NAT facility at Aluva hospital

October 04, 2023 08:13 pm | Updated 08:18 pm IST - KOCHI

The Regional Blood Transfusion Centre at Government District Hospital, Aluva, has sought the government nod to introduce Nucleic Acid Test (NAT), with full cost recovery from patients in pay-wards and private hospitals availing the facility.

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The Health department has in-principle agreed to set up NAT facility at the centre, at an estimated cost of ₹3 crore. As per official estimates, at least 30,000 samples are required annually to make the project viable, in view of the estimated ₹2.5 crore cost of the facility along with an annual maintenance cost of about 10%. The patients in government hospitals can avail the facility at 70% subsidy.

“We do routine screening tests for HIV, HCV, HBV, syphilis and malaria. NAT reduces the window period by one-third, compared to serological tests by Elisa due to the delay in the development of antibodies. NAT, which is a highly sensitive and advanced technique, has reduced the window period of HBV to below 11 days, HCV to below 25 days and HIV to below three days. The only limiting factor is the cost,” said N. Vijayakumar, medical officer in charge of the centre.

The centre had earlier proposed that the Aluva blood bank could be made the single nodal centre for NAT blood screening after blood transfusion infection was reported at Mananthavady in 2013. A 30-year-old patient tested positive for Hepatitis-B two weeks ago allegedly after transfusion of infected blood.

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