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New machine to ramp up Corona tests to 1.2K in 24 hrs: Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

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New Delhi, May 14, 2020-

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday inaugurated COBAS 6800 testing machine at the National Centre for Disease Control. This is the first such machine procured by the government for testing for Covid-19 cases.

In his address on the occasion, the Minister said: “NCDC has been now equipped with the COBAS 6800, a fully automated, high end machine for performing real time PCR testing Covid-19 in the service of the nation. COBAS 6800 will provide quality, high-volume testing with a high throughput of test around 1,200 samples in 24 hours. It will largely increase the testing capacity with reduction in pendency.

“It is a sophisticated machine, enabled with robotics that minimises the chance of contamination as well as the risk of infection to the health care workers since it can be operated remotely with limited human intervention.”

As the machine requires a minimum BSL2+ containment level for testing, it cannot be placed at just any facility, he noted, adding that COBAS 6800 can also detect other pathogens like Viral Hepatitis B & C, HIV, MTb (both rifampicin and isoniazide resistant), Papilloma, CMV, Chlamydia, Neiserreia etc.

Harsh Vardhan also said: “Today marks an important milestone as we have conducted nearly 20 lakh tests for Covid-19 at more than 500 laboratories – 359 Government laboratories and 145 private laboratories in the country. We have now developed a capacity to conduct 1,00,000 tests per day.”

The Minister added that the last three days’ doubling time has slowed down to 13.9 days, while the doubling time in the past 14 days was 11.1.

He also said that the fatality rate is 3.2 per cent and the recovery rate has further improved and now stands at 33.6 per cent against 32.83 per cent on Wednesday.

As of Wednesday, there are 3 per cent active COVID-19 patients in ICU, 0.39 per cent on ventilators and 2.7 per cent on oxygen support, he added.

“Today, there are 14 states/UTs that have not reported any cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hrs. i.e. Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Goa, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Puducherry, Telangana. Also, Daman & Diu, Sikkim, Nagaland and Lakshadweep have not reported any cases today.”

As on May 14, a total of 78,003 cases have been reported from the country of which 26,235 persons have been cured and 2,549 deaths have occurred. In the last 24 hours, 3,722 new confirmed cases have been added.  (Agency)

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