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ICMR invites bids from medical colleges to set up COVID-19 labs

NEW DELHI: In an attempt to meet the target of about 1,00,000 COVID-19 tests every day, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has on Wednesday invited applications for setting up testing lab facilities in medical colleges across the countries. Notably, there are 139 testing labs in the government system while the permission has been granted to 65 private labs chains for con- ducting the corona tests.

The total number of positive cases of the corona was reported at 5,274 on Wednesday at 5 pm and the ICMR has conducted total 1,27,919 tests, out of which 2,267 tests were conducted in private labs. On Wednesday alone, the ICMR tested 13,143 samples. The applications for setting up COVID-19 testing facilities have been invited from both government and pri- vate medical colleges. As per ICMR's tender document, the applicants must be having all the infrastructure and expertise required for conducting tests for Coronavirus.

"All medical colleges, willing to establish testing labs, must be having availability of a BSL-2 level laboratory facility, including a molecular biology setup for virological diagnosis and a functioning as well as calibrated biosafety cabinet type 2A/2B in the lab," the ICMR paper said. "The institutions must have the availability of cold centrifuge/microfuge for RNA extraction, functioning and calibrated real-time PCR machine and trained staff as per the testing protocols of the ICMR," it said, adding that the colleges must haveat least one medical microbiologist with experience of work in molecular virology.

"At least 4 to 6 technicians for working in 2/3 shifts with experience of work in virology and one MTS. All the staff would need to have an understanding of laboratory biosafety and they should be trained for handling respiratory samples for viral diagnosis, RNA extraction and real-time PCR," the ICMR said.

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