State gets its first Covid-19 QRT-PCR lab

[Staff Reporter]
NAHARLAGUN, Apr 30: Arunachal’s first Covid-19 QRT-PCR laboratory, at Tomo Riba Institute of Health & Medical Sciences (TRIHMS) here, was inaugurated by Health Minister Alo Libang on Thursday, in the presence of Health Secretary P Parthiban, TRIHMS Director Dr Moji Jini, and others.
The lab will begin collecting samples for tests and detection from 1 May onwards.
Libang informed that the state government has initiated steps to establish two more Covid-19 testing labs, in East Siang HQ Pasighat, and at C Sector here.
“Work on the proposed lab in Pasighat is currently underway, while the one at C Sector in Naharlagun will be completed in a couple of days.
“We assume that with the establishment of the Covid-19 QRT-PCR laboratory at TRIHMS, samples of around 100 people can be tested in a single day. This would increase to another 200 samples a day once the lab at C Sector is made operational,” he said.
Libang also informed that work is underway to set up a Covid-19 hospital in Midpu, in Papum Pare district.
Terming the establishment of the lab at TRIHMS within four weeks an achievement, the minister said that the medical department will no longer have to face the problem of sending samples to Dibrugarh and Guwahati in Assam.
Libang said the state government is also planning to upgrade 10 more hospitals in the state, “and the process has already been initiated in this regard.”
Responding to a query regarding the health department’s preparedness in view of the home ministry’s 29 April order, allowing migrant workers, tourists, students and other people stranded in different parts of the country to move to their respective destinations, the minister said assessment would be carried out at every check gate of the state to ensure that the returnees are properly quarantined.
“We are aware that many returnees do not practice proper home quarantine guidelines. Hence, the state government has directed the administration of every district to strictly monitor the check gates and ensure that quarantine guidelines are maintained properly,” Libang said.
He also said that the government will make wearing of protective masks mandatory for all from 3 May onwards.
Earlier, TRIHMS nodal officer (microbiology) for the Covid-19 laboratory, Dr Mika Umpo, informed that the state now has four types of diagnostic protocols with regard to Covid-19 identification, “which include rapid test, CB-NAAT, Truenat, and RT-PCR lab test or real-time PCR testing.”
“Rapid test and Truenat are needed only for screening purposes, while CB-NAAT is needed for conformity test. The RT-PCR lab test or real-time PCR testing is an advanced technique, and hence not all states can afford it,” he informed.
He said the ICMR in Dibrugarh provided TRIHMS with quality control kits prior to the start of the laboratory, “and all tests came out successful.”