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COVID-19: Assam starts ‘Targeted Surveillance Drive’, to complete 50,000 tests before Jun 30

Leaving no stone unturned to beat COVID-19, Assam has started Targeted Surveillance Drive in 12 identified places in Guwahati. This was informed by the Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on June 17th, 2020 inaugurating the third COVID-19 testing laboratory in the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH).

With the inauguration of the third COVID-19 testing laboratory, Assam has now a total of 12 laboratories.

The minister further added that 50,000 tests would be completed before June 30th, 2020. “A total of 40,770 swab tests have already been conducted at the GMCH to date,” he said.

Talking about the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Guwahati especially, the minister said, “People are still not aware. They have not taken the matter seriously.”

Also read: Assam: With 201 more COVID-19 cases, state tally reaches 4510

IIT Guwahati hands over kits for COVID-19 tests

To fight against the COVID-19, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Guwahati) handed over the SPILD VTM kits, RT-PCR kits and RNA isolation kits to the government to the government.

These affordable and sterile Viral Transport Media (VTM) kits, RT-PCR kits and RNA isolation kits have been developed at IIT-Guwahati jointly with RR Animal Healthcare Ltd. with inputs from GMCH. Due to the huge demand for these kits and the high price associated in their timely procurement, the National Health Mission (NHM), Assam had approached IIT Guwahati for their development and procurement. The requested kits were already under development stage and on knowing the immediate requirement of these kits in high quantity, the research teams led by Prof. Parameswar Krishnan lyer, Prof. Siddhartha Sankar Ghosh from IIT Guwahati and Dr. Labanyamoy Kole of RR Animal developed these kits as per the standards laid down by the GMCH and have already delivered them -950 VTM kits, which have now been tested and validated.

Launching the kits, the minister said, “Assam has been successfully leading the fight against COVID-19 pandemic and our initiatives have gone a long way in containing this disease in the entire NE region. We want to identify and contain this disease at an early stage and it is vital that we have all the crucial kits and materials so that our frontline healthcare workers and doctors who are doing a commendable job do not face any hurdles.”

The viral transport media or VTM kits are the first stop source used to collect the nasal and oral swab specimens from the individual source to the laboratory safely for culture and testing. During this period the virus, if present, in the sample specimens should remain intact until the testing procedure is completed.

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