Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Covid-19 testing labs in Kohima, Dimapur

By Our Correspondent Updated: Apr 07, 2020 10:48 pm
Health department officials during a press briefing in Kohima on Tuesday. (EM Images)

Our Correspondent

Kohima, April 4 (EMN): In what may come as a relief to the people of Nagaland, the state’s Health department is in the process of setting up two Covid-19 testing laboratories—one each in Kohima and Dimapur.

Informing this at a press briefing on Tuesday, the secretary to Health and Family Welfare department, Kesonyu Yhome, said that two separate Biological Safety Level (BSL) laboratories will be set up, one each at Naga Hospital Authority Kohima (BSL-3) and Christian Institute of Health Sciences and Research, Dimapur (BSL-2).

A four-member committee, led by Yhome has been entrusted to oversee the BSL laboratory projects. The target to complete the laboratories is not in terms of months but weeks. “We have set a  very ambitious target for ourselves, because this (testing laboratories) is the need of the hour,” he said.

The BSL laboratory is a containment of four ranges, from lowest level 1 to the highest level 4. To set up BSL-3, a very high international standard protocol needs to be followed, while ensuring that materials are assembled from different cities across the country on time

“We are rushing against time,” he said and went on to add that fast tracking everything is the major issue.

He assured that the committee is “on the job” and is in touch with the Guwahati-based firm for ‘materials’.

‘The only concern is if there is a break in the chain while assembling of materials. For instance, if one city gets delayed in delivering in a day or two, the whole process of setting up will get delayed’, he maintained. 

On the infrastructure quality, the officer assured that “every step of the protocol in setting up of a BSL level three will be followed in total. There is no compromise as far as the procedure is concerned”.

Any BSL laboratory has to be certified by the Indian Council Medical Research (ICMR).

Therefore, in every step, it is keeping the ICMR in the loop, seeking their opinion and suggestions, he said. On completion of building the laboratories, ICMR will review, and if it finds any problem in the security protocol, it will not certify, he informed.

The principal secretary to Health and Family Welfare, Menukhol John said that ensuring sufficient manpower—across the state— is one of the main challenges.

The principal director of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Vizolie Z Suokhrie clarified that the medium for transporting samples from the state is ‘viral transport medium’ (VTM), which is a special means of transport.

‘Once it goes into minus degree temperature, this virus can not only survive but can grow, which is an added advantage of this medium,’ he pointed out.

The doctor assured that the department ‘is ensuring that the test reports are coming at the earliest possible time. To be precise, the test reports are not taking more than 20 hours’.

Therefore, he said that there should not be any doubt in relation to the transportation of the samples.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Apr 07, 2020 10:48:40 pm
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