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170 tested at Tura hospital
SHILLONG: As a big boost to COVID testing facility in the state, Tura Civil Hospital has started with RT-PCR tests, while Pasteur Institute is awaiting ICMR certification for becoming fully operational shortly.
According to DHS Dr Aman War, as of Tuesday 170 tests were conducted at Tura. Those tested were mostly returnees and other persons with high risk contacts.
Dr War said that Pasteur Institute should be able to start RT-PCR tests within a week. They will have to start with trial testing.
The much awaited testing facilities at Pasteur Institute for conducting the RT-PCR test (Reverse Transcription — Polymerase Chain Reaction) is awaiting ICMR certification. For now Pasteur Institute is conducting True-Nat tests.
Unlike traditional RT-PCR tests, the sample preparation in TrueNAT tests is automated, and the results are available within half an hour.
The test uses nose or throat swab samples, which are collected from patients and dipped in a solution that inactivates the virus.
According to Dr Parnali Dhar Chowdhury, a research scientist in the Department of Epidemiology, John Hopkins University USA, RT-PCR is completely a pure lab test example. She told this writer that in practice, a swab is taken from a patient, hoping that if patients have the coronavirus infection, that enough of the virus is picked up on the swab from the nose and throat for the PCR test to be able to detect the virus. However, the swab needs to pick up enough of the virus to work. But overall the PCR test has a high accuracy rate, she maintained.