Medics take samples from a patient in the isolation ward of novel coronavirus (COVID-19)   | Representational image
Medics take samples from a patient in the isolation ward of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) | Representational image
Photo: PTI

Mumbai: In order to make testing centres more accessible, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved eight private and four government laboratories for testing (as of March 24, 2020) in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). The recent addition to the list of government testing centres has been Grant Medical College & Sir JJ Hospital, and National Institute of Virology Field Unit.

Speaking to The Free Press Journal, an official said, “This will reduce pressure on the existing two government laboratories.” At present, Seth GS Medical College & KEM Hospital; and Kasturba Hospital for Infectious Diseases was the two government laboratories conducting the Coronavirus testing.

Other than four government laboratories, there are eight private laboratories namely Thyrocare, Suburban Diagnostics, Metropolis Healthcare Ltd, SRL Limited, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital Laboratory, InfeXn Laboratories Private Limited and Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai, that can conduct the test for Coronavirus.

In Pune, there are four institutions that are permitted to test. These include National Institute of Virology, Armed Forces Medical College,BJ Medical College, Pune, and A G Diagnostics Pvt (private laboratory). In Nagpur, it continues to be one centre — Indira Gandhi Government Medical College, Nagpur.

In the country, around 119 government laboratories have been approved by ICMR till date. The operational laboratories are 104 and rest 15 are in the process of starting operation. In Mumbai, all government centres are operational.

In the case of private firms in Mumbai, it is up and running. A doctor who recently recommended his patients to one of the leading private testing centres, said, “The diagnostics centres are sending their lab technicians to people’s residence. This could be mainly to avoid contact with potential or Covid-affected people from getting in touch with more people.”

Meanwhile, in the neighbouring state, Madhya Pradesh, four laboratories have been approved for testing by ICMR. It includes All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhopal; National Institute for Research on Tribal Health, Jabalpur; Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College, Indore; and Gandhi Medical College, Bhopal.

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