Narayana Nethralaya’s Molecular Diagnostics laboratory to conduct COVID-19 testing.

Bangalore, 28th May 2020: Narayana Nethralaya’s Molecular Diagnostics laboratory situated at Bommasandra, Bangalore, has been approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to conduct COVID-19 testing. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), diagnostic testing for COVID-19 is critical to tracking the virus, understanding epidemiology, informing case management, and to suppressing transmission. Private labs conducting COVID-19 testing are required to be certified by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) or agencies approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

The NN Molecular Diagnostics Lab meets all the prerequisites for COVID -19 testing, the infection and illness caused by the new strain of coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. It is an NABL accredited testing laboratory, is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, conforms to the WHO-GMP standards, and follows good laboratory practice (glp) guidelines. Narayana Nethralaya’s Molecular Diagnostics laboratory is the first Ophthalmic Hospital to do COVID-19 testing in India.

WHO recommends that suspect cases should be screened for the COVID-19 virus with nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT), such as RT-PCR. The NN laboratory is BSL-2 (the biosafety level that is suitable for work with pathogenic or infections organisms associated with human diseases), and has a conventional PCR as well as real time PCR machine, which can perform both qualitative and quantitative tests for various bacterial, fungal and viral agents. 

Two members of the staff, a Consultant Microbiologist and the Lab Director have been trained in the testing of COVID -19 at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS). The highly trained, skilled and motivated five-member team of the laboratory is ready to work around the clock to test specimen samples from patients suspected to be infected with coronavirus. The NN lab strictly adheres to the appropriate biosafety practices and all members of the lab use the recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95 respirator, eye protection, gloves, and a gown, when collecting specimens.  

Regarding the laboratory’s capacity for testing, Dr. K Bhujang Shetty, Chairman & Managing Director of Narayana Nethralaya said: “The laboratory has the capacity of processing of up to 100 samples per day. The report will be available within 24 hours after reaching the samples to the Lab. Narayana Nethralaya is happy to contribute its services in helping to contain the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic in this hour of national crisis.” Sample collection facilities are available at all the four hospitals of Narayana Nethralaya.

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