JORHAT, April 16 - The CSIR-North East Institute of Science and Technology (CSIR-NEIST) in collaboration with the 5 Air Force Hospital at Rowriah is in the process of setting up a laboratory at the IAF hospital to test samples for COVID-19.
Speaking exclusively to The Assam Tribune, CSIR-NEIST Director Dr G Nara Narahari Sastry said that as the institute was having expertise in molecular biology and microbiology with required laboratory facilities and government laboratories operational under CSIR authorised to take up testing of COVID-19, an initiative to set up the laboratory has been undertaken.
Dr Sastry said the proposed laboratory will be able to carry out tests on nearly 100 samples within a 3-4 hours under the RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) method. The laboratory at the IAF hospital will be one among the 12 CSIR laboratories to be set up across the country under the CSIR initiative.
Dr Sastry said that on Wednesday, a team of NEIST scientists led by him and Air Commodore Dr S Bhargava along with doctors and officials of 5 Air Force Hospital held a joint meeting and finalised the infrastructural and logistical aspects that will be needed to operate the laboratory at the 5 Air Force Hospital.
He said a joint team of doctors of the IAF hospital and CSIR-NEIST scientists will work together to operate the laboratory.
�If things go according to plan, we will be able to make the laboratory ready within a week,� Dr Sastry stated.
The CSIR-NEIST team of scientists will not only provide the equipment and diagnostic kit reagent support, but also facilitate the Air Force hospital staff to conduct the testing as CSIR-NEIST has almost all the infrastructural facilities to conduct such tests with little orientation, Dr Sastry said.
The director said that the laboratory will function in close coordination with the district administration and the Jorhat Medical College and Hospital.
Dr Purnima Baruah, JMCH Superintendent and Associate Professor of Microbiology, told this newspaper that a team of CSIR-NEIST and IAF hospital recently visited the JMCH laboratory to know about the set-up.
Dr Baruah said the proposed laboratory is expected to be a booster in the efforts under way to prevent outbreak of novel coronavirus.
Dr Sastry said that the CSIR-NEIST and the 5 Air Force Hospital were also jointly working to set up a 101-bed makeshift hospital for treatment of COVID-19 patients at the IAF hospital premises.