SILCHAR, July 26 - With over 56,000 swab samples having undergone the Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RTPCR) tests so far to ascertain COVID-19 positive status of people across southern Assam, the microbiology laboratory at the Silchar Medical College and Hospital (SMCH) is inching closer to 2,000 positive cases amidst constant spike by the virus.
At this crucial juncture, the need for an additional laboratory for sharing the load of samples, besides accelerating the pace of tests and results as well is being contemplated by the medical fraternity here.
Asked whether there has been any step taken for another test laboratory, SMCH vice principal Dr Bhaskar Gupta while talking to The Assam Tribune today said, �amidst a steep rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, we have had as many as 1,891 positive cases from 56,006 swab samples from southern Assam and also from Dima Hasao, (cases from Mizoram and a section of people from Tripura residing here came in the initial days) since we got approval from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in March this year.
Minister for Health Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma had evinced keen interest for the additional test laboratory here and as per his direction a proposal was sent to the Government for construction of the laboratory within the hospital campus and machine procurement etc. Accredidation from the ICMR and guidelines and criteria from the National Institute of Virology, NIV, Pune is also being sought for in this regard.�
He added that the PWD civil construction officials have already been moved for construction-related affairs and hoped that the additional laboratory should be available for conducting the tests soon.
On the other hand, Dr Debadatta Dhar Chanda, Professor and Head of the Department of Microbiology at SMCH-cum-Principal Investigator at the Viral Research Diagnostic Laboratory (VRDL) and in-charge of Covid-19 testing laboratory at the hospital expressed the hope that once the additional RTPCR test laboratory comes up, the rush of sample load on the exisiting solitary laboratory could be evenly shared and the results declared at a faster pace.