The increasing number of COVID-19 casualties worldwide forced countries to put their citizens under complete lockdown. And as of now, Russia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand and many other countries have put their citizens into mandatory home quarantine, reported Business Insider. However, the top officials of the World Health Organization recently said that isolation is not enough.
“We have a simple message for all countries: Test, test, test. Test every suspected case,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
As reported by The Economic Times, India tests around 6.8 per million, one of the lowest rates in the world. Hence, to bridge this gap, a Pune-based virologist developed the country’s first coronavirus testing kit. Virologist Minal Dakhave Bhosale, research and development chief of Mylab Discovery in Pune headed the team that designed the kit called ‘Patho Detect’. The kit was developed in just six weeks.
However, it wasn’t the only deadline Minal was fighting with. She began working on the kit in February, just days after leaving the hospital with a pregnancy complication. And just a day before delivering her baby girl, she submitted the kit for evaluation to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) on 18 March, the BBC reported.
“It was an emergency, so I took this on as a challenge. I have to serve my nation.”
She further added that her team of 10 worked very hard to make the project a success.
After getting approval to make and sell ‘Patho Detect’, the first Made-in-India coronavirus testing kit hit the market on Thursday. It aims to increase the frequency of testing patients with the symptoms of the infection and ruling out people with the virus. “Our kit gives the diagnosis in two and a half hours while the imported testing kits take six-seven hours,” Minal said in an interview with Hindustan Times.
Talking about the accuracy of the kit, Minal said, “If you carry out 10 tests on the same sample, all 10 results should be same. And we achieved that. Our kit was perfect.” The molecular diagnostic company said that each kit can test 100 samples and costs Rs.1,200, making it an economical alternative to imported testing kits.
Moreover, to increase the number of people being tested in the country, India has given approvals to 15 private companies to commercially sell diagnostic kits based on licences they have obtained in the US, European Union and some other countries, said reports.
People online thanked Minal for her exceptional efforts:
Ms. Bhosale, you delivered not just the test kit and your baby , but you also delivered a ray of hope to the country. We stand and salute you… https://t.co/iqQgQvBzg3
— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) March 28, 2020
Coronavirus: The woman behind India's first testing kit- makes us all so proud to see women leading the way Congrats Mylab https://t.co/W1WnC8Knrm
— Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (@kiranshaw) March 28, 2020
Built in record time, the team leader, Minal Dakhave Bhosale submitted the kit for evaluation by the NIV on 18 March, just a day before delivering her daughter.
https://t.co/04qjzEntdK via @BBC pic.twitter.com/So6wjTTYEe
— Amit Paranjape (@aparanjape) March 28, 2020
As of now, the total number of coronavirus-infected patients has reached 873. However, 78 among them have been cured and discharged. With people like Dr Minal, who are giving their heart and soul to help contain the virus, I am sure we’ll be able to win the battle against COVID-19 soon.