ICMR installs sophisticated COVID-19 testing machine to ramp up tests in Patna

Patna, Jun 21 (PTI) A sophisticated COVID-19 testing machine has been installed by the ICMR at the Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences (RMRIMS) here for carrying out faster testing of samples.

The COBAS 6800 machine, capable of conducting up to 1,500 tests per day, would help ramp up testing facility in Patna, a top official of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said in a press release.

The machine, enabled with robotics, minimises the chance of contamination as well as the risk of infection to healthcare workers since it can be operated remotely with limited human intervention.

'This is the first facility of its kind in Bihar and will help in capacity building of COVID-19 diagnostic laboratory in the institute,' Prof Balram Bhargava, Director General, ICMR, said in the release.

The move will help increase the testing capacity in Bihar, which needs testing in high numbers as migrants are coming to the state from different parts of the country, said Bhargava.

At present the RMRIMS is testing around 2,000 samples per day with the help of 4 RT-PCR machines, with 25 people working 24 x 7 in three shifts.

After the COVID-19 spread is controlled, the machine can also be used to detect other pathogens such as viral hepatitis B and C, HIV, mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB), cytomegalovirus (CMV), chlamydia, neisseria and dengue, the release said.

The RMRIMS, so far, has tested close to 65,000 samples. PTI AR MM MM