Def min unveils mobile lab for Covid-19 screening

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Photo: PTI

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday unveiled via video link a ‘mobile virology research and diagnostics laboratory (MVRDL)’ developed by the Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO), which will help in speeding up Covid-19 screening, a statement said.

The first such mobile viral research lab (MVRL) to speed up coronavirus screening and related research and development activities was developed by the Research Centre Imarat, the Hyderabad-based laboratory of the DRDO, in consultation with ESIC Hospital, Hyderabad, the statement said.

The MVRL is the combination of a Bio-safety Level (BSL) 3 lab and a BSL 2 lab essential to carry out its activities. The lab is built as per the World Health Organization and the Indian Council of Medical Research bio-safety standards to meet international guidelines. The system has built-in electrical controls, LAN, telephone cabling, and CCTVs, the statement added.

The mobile lab will be helpful in carrying out diagnosis of Covid-19 and also virus culturing for drug screening, convalescent plasma derived therapy, comprehensive immune profiling of Covid-19 patients towards vaccine development and early clinical trials specific to the Indian population.

The lab can screen 1,000-2,000 samples per day and can be positioned anywhere in the country as per requirement, the statement added.
The defence minister said the government has taken several timely decisions because of which the spread of Covid-19 in the country is far less in comparison to many other countries.

Singh expressed appreciation for the setting up of this BSL 2 and 3 labs in a record time of 15 days, though it usually takes about six months to set up such a lab. He said the testing facility can process more than 1,000 samples in a day and will enhance the country’s capabilities in fighting Covid-19.

He said the armed forces are contributing in the fight against Covid-19 in many ways, such as setting up of quarantine centres, providing healthcare facilities, and evacuating Indian nationals from other countries.

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