ICMR-approved mobile lab to cut down testing time

Lab developed by IISc will reduce turnaround time from 2-4 days to 4-12 hours

Published - August 05, 2020 10:34 pm IST - Bengaluru

To ramp up diagnostic capabilities and cut down the turnaround time from sample collection to issuing the test report, which usually takes up to three days, faculty from IISc have developed one set of ICMR-approved RT-PCR mobile testing labs.

Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar, who inaugurated the labs in the city on Wednesday, said the Mobile Infection Testing and Reporting (MITR) Labs is an end-to-end solution for COVID-19 testing.

India’s first

“This is India’s first and only ICMR approved BSL-2+ compliant mobile diagnostic lab wherein sample collection, processing and test using RT-PCR can be done on site and the results can be uploaded to ICMR portal,” he said.

Sai Siva Gorthi, associate professor, Optics and Microfluidics Instrumentation Lab, Department of Instrumentation and Applied Physics, who led the team that developed the mobile lab, told The Hindu that one set of the mobile labs comprises three vehicles. While one van is for sample collection, another replicating the BSL-2 lab is for sample processing. The third van is used for molecular testing analysis and to prepare reports.

“Processing and testing of the samples cannot be done in the same vehicle as the RNA of the virus has to be isolated. These mobile labs enable significant reduction in turnaround time from 2-4 days to 4-12 hours for the confirmatory test of COVID-19 using RT-PCR. We can process over 100 samples per shift and around 4,500 a month,” he said.

MITR Labs can be used for testing of other viral and bacterial infections such as H1N1, HCV, HBC, TB, etc., prof. Gorthi pointed out.

Designed and developed by IISc along with a faculty startup ShanMukha Innovations Pvt. Ltd., the first set of MITR labs have been successfully tested with the BSL-3 central lab operational at the Center for Infectious Disease Research (CIDR), IISc.

First set

The first set of the mobile labs have been handed over to Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences and will be operated through Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute.

The labs have been developed with CSR support from SBI Foundation and Tata Motors.

Additional funding was received from Collins Aerospace through United Way Bengaluru and Borqs software solutions, the professor added.

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