India’s first mobile COVID-19 diagnostic unit, I-Lab created in record 8 days time

This mobile testing facility that has biosafety facility and is capable of performing RT-PCR as well as ELISA tests, will be deployed through the DBT testing hubs to remote regions of the country

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The Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan launches the Indias first I-Lab (Infectious disease diagnostic lab) for COVID-19 testing in rural and inaccessible areas of India, in New Delhi on June 18, 2020.
New Delhi: Developed at Andhra Pradesh Med-tech Zone (AMTZ) in a record time of 8 days, India’s first mobile Infectious disease diagnostic lab or I-Lab is equipped with Biosafety Level-2 facility and on-site ELISA, RT-PCR, biochemistry analyzers.
The mobile laboratory can run 50 RT-PCR reactions and about 200 ELISA in a day. A double set of machines can help increase the capacity to about 500 per day in 8 hours shift. It can be deployed in remote areas and can be lifted from Automotive Chassis from Bharat Benz and can be put on goods train for sending to any location in the country. The BSL -2 Lab is as per NABL specifications and is being attached to DBT’s certified Testing centers.
The I-Lab has been created under DBT-AMTZ COMManD (COVID Medtech Manufacturing Development), consortia by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology, and AMTZ to address the shortage of critical healthcare technologies in India and move progressively towards a stage of self-sufficiency.
The Minister for Science & Technology and Health & Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan who flagged off India’s first I-Lab appreciated the efforts of the DBT in tackling the Covid pandemic. “DBT coordinated in scaling-up testing for Covid by reorienting premiere laboratories as Covid testing centers in a hub and spoke model. There are now over 20 hubs in the country with 100 testing laboratories and these have tested more than 2,60,000 samples,” he said.
Dr Harsh Vardhan informed that AMTZ through the support of DBT has also established a manufacturing facility for indigenous manufacturing of kits and reagents for various testing kits which were initially imported thereby helping India realize the vision of PM Modi on- Make-in India program. He pointed out that today there are 953 testing laboratories in all corners of the country and elaborated on “Various steps taken by the ministry and departments towards achieving research components indigenization and their in-house manufacturing.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Dr Renu Swarup said that through the concerted efforts Indian scientists, the country has achieved a capacity of producing nearly 5 lakh testing kits per day, exceeding the target of having one lakh test kits by May 31, 2020. She pointed out that this I-Lab has been created in a record time of 8 days by the Andhra Pradesh Med-tech Zone team with the support of DBT under the National Biopharma Mission being implemented by the Public Sector BIRAC. She highlighted that the unit has biosafety facility and is capable of performing RT-PCR as well as ELISA tests.
The team at Delhi was joined by Dr Jitendar Sharma, CEO, Andhra Med Tech Zone CEO, and senior officials from NITI Ayog, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, MeiTY, other ministries, ICMR, DST, CSIR through online web conferencing.