Virology Laboratory: So near, yet so far at Warangal

Virology  Laboratory: So near, yet so far at Warangal
Virology Lab at Kakatiya Medical College, Warangal

Functioning of Virology Laboratory is delayed due to shortage of Covid-19 testing kits

Warangal: It's going to be a long wait, it seems, as the much-touted Virology Laboratory, which is ready to go operational at any time, got stuck due to the shortage of coronavirus (Covid-19) testing kits. Even though the county is witnessing a spike in the cases of coronavirus infection, the number of facilities that diagnose the pandemic is very limited. Against this backdrop, it appeared like that the Virology Laboratory, which is ready to go operational, has come like a bolt from the blue.

The Virology Lab, established on the premises of the Kakatiya Medical College (KMC) with the Central Government funds, which is expected to provide state-of-the-art diagnostic services for human viral infections, has ran into an unexpected problem even before the facility was thrown open. The news is that the lab is waiting for the Covid-19 testing kits from the National Institute of Virology (NIV), previously known as Virus Research Centre, in Pune (Maharashtra).

In fact, the KMC administration was confident of operationalising the Virology Lab a fortnight ago. However, a bit of delay in installing the Biosafety Cabinet, an enclosed, ventilated laboratory workspace for safely working with materials contaminated with pathogens requiring a defined biosafety level, pushed the operationalisation date further.

In this backdrop, the shortage of testing kits came like a huge disappointment for the staff, which has been waiting eagerly to conduct the first of the coronavirus tests in the city. The lab is equipped with diagnosing the malady through blood-based and swab-based tests.

Speaking to The Hans India, KMC Principal Dr S Sandhya said: "We are eagerly waiting for the arrival of coronavirus testing kits. The staff which got trained recently is rearing to extend their services at this hour of exigency. The NIV authorities in an e-mail informed us that it may take some time to send testing kits as they are already facing a shortage." However, the Principal appeared confident of receiving the consignment of kits in a few days; the virology lab will have to wait for some more time as the demand for the coronavirus kits is huge in the country. Even if the lab receives testing kits, it cannot issue diagnostic reports straightaway. The lab has to go through a trial run and cross check the results with the NIV. The veracity of reports has to be ratified and given a green signal by the NIV, according to the KMC authorities.

"It's high time for the State government to speak to the Centre and get coronavirus testing kits as early as possible to make use of the virology lab," Jwala NGO Founder President Sunkari Prashanth said.

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