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India’s first indigenous Covid-19 testing kits dispatched; woman behind the project wins hearts

By Mirror Desk Updated: Mar 28, 2020 10:10 pm

Eastern Mirror Desk
Dimapur, March 28 (EMN): In what could drastically change the course of India’s battle against the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), Mylab Discovery Solutions Pvt. Ltd., has announced that it has dispatched the first batch of ‘Made in India’ Covid-19 testing kit to government and private labs.

The announcement came at a time when the pressure of conducting more tests for coronavirus, which is crucial for containing the spread of the virus, was mounting in the country. This will enable India to screen people with flu symptoms on a larger scale and ensure that they are not Covid-19 infection.

The Pune-based molecular diagnostics company became the first Indian firm to receive commercial approval from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) to developed first ‘Made in India’ Covid-19 testing kit. It was a welcome development as the Indian government was dependent on foreign countries for testing kits until now, and that too was disrupted as supply was blocked due to grounded airlines.

Mylab Discovery Solutions had informed through a statement that its testing kits were developed in a record time of six weeks and that it would supply testing kits in the first batch to conduct 15,000 tests. It promises to manufacture up to 1 lakh kits a week or more if needed and that 100 patients could be tested per kit.

“At present, Mylab can produce kits to test for 20,000 samples per day. However, in case of an adverse situation, the company can ramp-up its capacity to ship kits to conduct 50,000 tests per day,” Rahul Patil, executive director and operations head at Mylab Discovery Solutions, said.

The testing kit called “Mylab PathoDetect Covid-19 Qualitative PCR kit” can screen and detect coronavirus infection within two-and-a-half-hour, compared to seven plus hours taken by current protocols, according to the firm. The indigenously developed kits are much cheaper too, ‘costing one-third to one-fourth of the cost of the price cap provided by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)’.

“We have been trying hard to make cutting edge technology available to our country at a reasonable and affordable price. Since this test is based on the sensitive PCR technology, even early stage infection can be detected, with highest accuracy as has been seen during tests at ICMR. The ICMR tested, CDSCO approved kit makes detection faster too,” Shailendra Kawade, executive director at Mylab, said.

With regard to supply of the testing kits to ICMR-approved labs (100 government and 29 private) across the country, advisor and mentor on corporate strategy of the firm Sujit Jain said: “We are continuously working with all the testing labs to predict the demand and schedule the supplies of the testing kits. We are letting them know of supply schedules ahead of time.”

The woman who delivered the kit before her baby

As Mylab shipped the first batch of its coronavirus testing kits, its research and development chief, virologist Minal Dakhave Bhosale, has stolen the hearts of the Indians, thanks to BBC that published her inspiring story.

The story was about Bhosale’s two deadlines – one was the delivery of a functional coronavirus testing kit and the other, her due date. According to BBC report, the scientist, who headed the team that designed the project, submitted the testing kit to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) for evaluation on March 18 and the same was submitted to the CDSCO for commercial approval in the evening of the same day before being was taken to hospital for delivery an hour later.

Then she gave birth to a baby girl the next day.

This inspiring story has caught the attention of many, including Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra, chairperson and managing director of Biocon Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, and advisor to Niti Aayog Alok Kumar, who took to social media to express their appreciation.

Mahindra lauded Bhosale on Twitter, stating that she “delivered a ray of hope to the country”.

Shaw congratulated Bhosale and said that she was proud of her.

Chairperson and Managing Director of Biocon

Kumar also recommended his Twitter followers to read her inspirational story.

By Mirror Desk Updated: Mar 28, 2020 10:10:59 pm