Tamil Nadu

Coronavirus | Not possible to establish mobile labs due to bio-safety issues, Tamil Nadu government tells Madras High Court

The State government on Wednesday informed the Madras High Court that mobile laboratories to test for COVID-19 cannot be established due to bio-safety issues and hence only mobile sample collection booths were being operated in the State.

Justices Vineet Kothari and Pushpa Sathyanarayana were told that Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) was a gold standard diagnostic test for COVID-19. It was a very sensitive diagnostic tool available for laboratory confirmation of infectious diseases.

A status report filed by K.S. Selvakumar, Additional Secretary, Health Department, pointed out that the molecular diagnostic tool requires a dedicated molecular biology lab/RT-PCR having three separate cubicles viz., sample preparation room, master mix room and PCR room as recommended by World Health Organisation (WHO).

“All three of these cubicles need to be designed in uni-directional work flow. Sample preparation room should have bio safety cabinet class II A2/B2 to handle highly infectious and clinical materials so as to ensure no bio safety issues,” he added. The RT-PCR technique as a point of care in the form of mobile labs “require absolute validation in terms of bio safety and so mobile testing labs cannot be established.”

The report was filed in response to a public interest litigation petition filed for testing all those who reside on footpaths, roadsides and street corners for COVID-19. It made it clear that there was no necessity to test all homeless people unless they suffer from symptoms.

RT-PCR test kits

The Additional Secretary told the court that orders had been placed for procurement of 14.33 lakh RT-PCR test kits of which 5.12 lakh had already been received as on Tuesday. Further, the Centre had given 50,000 kits to the State and donors too had contributed 53,516 kits.

Totally, 6.15 lakh kits were available in the State as on May 12. Further, providing a breakup, he said, most of the kits were procured from two South Korean companies and the rest from an Indian company and that all of them were approved by Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).

The court was also told that 2.66 lakh samples were tested in the State as on Tuesday. After recording the submissions and expressing satisfaction over the steps taken by the government, the Division Bench closed the PIL petition.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 12:20:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/not-possible-to-establish-mobile-labs-due-to-bio-safety-issues-state-tells-high-court/article31577857.ece

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