IN NORTH INDIA: PGIMER ESTABLISHES 50 COVID-19 MOLECULAR LABS

Chandigarh, October 14, 2020: Carrying forward the mandate as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ to mentor all government and private medical colleges in the catchment areas to create state-of-art molecular virology setups, PGIMER lived up to the expectations by establishing 50 COVID-19 Molecular Labs in North India.
Prof. Jagat Ram, Director, PGIMER congratulated Dr Mini P Singh, Professor, Department of Virology, PGIMER, the Principal Coordinator for the mentoring institutes, for establishing this facility.
Commending the initiative, Prof. Jagat Ram said “The COVID-19 pandemic posed a big challenge to North India as during the initial phase very few labs were trained in molecular virology testing. It was a big challenge but PGIMER accepted this as an opportunity to upgrade the labs of surrounding and far flung areas. The Department of Virology established around 50 COVID-19 testing Real time PCR labs. The developed infrastructure will be instrumental in the near future for providing molecular diagnostic facilities for routine patient care.”
Prof. Jagat Ram further emphasized, “The fight against COVID-19 is successful till date and in near future also we are fully prepared for providing service to mankind.”
Prof. Mini P Singh extended her thanks to the faculty and staff of the Department of Virology for shouldering this responsibility and in providing hands-on-training to around 170 faculties and technical staff from the above mentioned states and Union Territories.
Earlier seeking to expeditiously expand COVID-19 testing facilities, the Indian Council of Medical Research, Government of India had identified PGIMER, Chandigarh as one of the 14 Centres of Excellence to mentor all government and private medical colleges in their catchment areas to create state-of-art molecular virology setups.
This work involved interaction with various levels of health facilities including medical colleges, civil hospitals, defence labs and other central and state labs to provide training and handholding for the establishment of COVID-19 diagnostic facilities.
The various labs and medical colleges of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Leh Ladakh were covered under this programme.
The total includes 16 govt medical colleges, 8 govt civil hospitals and 11 private medical colleges, 7 defence labs and 4 state testing facilities across the Northern Region.
This also includes DBT Labs like IISER Mohali. Also additional testing facilities have been established in GADVASU Ludhiana, NRDDL Jalandhar, Punjab Biotechnology incubator and Central Forensic Laboratory Mohali.
The COVID 19 testing in some of the premier private medical colleges like CMC and DMC Ludhiana have also been established under this programme.
In order to assure the quality of testing of these labs, the Department of Virology was also identified as the Quality Assurance and Quality control testing centre for the labs of Punjab, UT and Himachal Pradesh.
The QA/QC programme as directed by ICMR is being done on a quarterly basis for 30 labs by the Dept. of Virology, PGIMER which ensures the quality of reporting of SARS-CoV2 testing by Real-time PCR.

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