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NBRI sets up virology lab to boost Covid testing in UP

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Inauguration of Advanced Virology Lab, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

 Rohit Shishodia

The National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), Lucknow, has set up an ‘Advanced Virology Lab’ to increase the numbers Covid testing in the state. The facility has been developed based on the guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

“It is a Bio Safety Level (BSL) 3 facility. Biosafety levels are assigned to a facility depending on the pathogen it deals with.  According to ICMR guidelines, BSL2 level facility is recommended for Covid-19 but this is an advanced version,” said Dr Samir Sawant, Senior Principal Scientist, NBRI.

“This advanced version has a “Negative Pressure”, which means it has a suction facility that can suck any aerosol and pass it through filters. It can filter virus or bacteria to make it a safe COVID-19 testing facility. It reduces the possibilities of infections at culturing facilities,” added Dr Sawant.

Prof. SK Barik, Director, NBRI, said that the facility will add to the testing capacity of Uttar Pradesh (UP).

“To follow the protocol, we will start testing 100 samples a day in the first week and later we will scale it up to 500 samples a day,” said Dr Sawant.

“As requested by the higher authorities of the Government of Uttar Pradesh and the Director General of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (DG-CSIR), NBRI took up the initiative for developing the testing facility in the wake of coronavirus pandemic as a service to the people of Uttar Pradesh,” Prof Barik  said.


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