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10 TrueNat machines to be installed at District Hospitals to conduct COVID-19 Test: Balbir Sidhu

5 TrueNat machine already installed at DH Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Mansa, Barnala & Pathankot

•          Special training being imparted to the AYUSH MOs & RMOs for collection and Packing of COVID-19 samples

•          On an average 7,000 samples being taken for COVID-19 test

Chandigarh, (Dr. Abhinav Kalra): Keeping in view to conduct immediate Corona virus test of suspected front line workers, sick patients requiring quick diagnosis for management of disease and in emergency surgeries, dialysis etc. where rapid diagnosis helps in better management of patient, the Punjab Government is all set to establish 10 TrueNat machines at District hospitals (DHs). It was disclosed by Health & Family Welfare Minister Mr. Balbir Singh Sidhu in press communiqué.

Giving details, the Health Minister said that presently the TrueNat machine confirms only negative tests and positive results need to be reconfirmed by RT-PCR. But recently, ICMR has approved the testing of positive tests from TrueNat to be confirmed by TrueNat machine itself by conducting second step test. For this purpose, the special chips would be made available in DHs by tomorrow where such machines to be set up. Then it would not be necessary to send samples for confirmation of positive results by RT-PCR.

Presently, 5 TrueNat machines have already been installed at DHs Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Mansa, Barnala and Pathankot adding that he divulged 10 more machines would be installed at Bathinda, Fazilka, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, Moga, Muktsar Sahib, SBS Nagar, Ropar and Sangrur.

Revealing about the features & functioning of TrueNat machine, Mr. Sidhu said that for TrueNat machines, no AC or special bio-safety cabinet is required, even it can easily set up at Primary Health Centre level. One TrueNat machine can consume one hour to conduct test of COVID-19 in one time. At a given time two samples can be tested simultaneously. He also said that besides TrueNat machines, there are two CB-NAAT machines installed for COVID-19 testing, one at TB Hospital Patiala and other at GMC Faridkot. Four samples can be tested simultaneously in one hour but it requires the AC or special bio-safety cabinet. So far around 194 tests have been conducted on these machines.

 “In addition to routine testing, the Civil Surgeons have been directed to depute a nodal officer preferably microbiologist/pathologist/medical officers for adequate utilization of TrueNat machines”, he added.

Pertinently, TrueNat machines which were initially used for testing of TB are being utilized for testing of COVID-19 in district hospitals to initiate the immediate testing process at district level.

To further expedite the sampling process, he said that special training is being imparted to the AYUSH Medical Officers and RMOs for collection and Packing of COVID-19 samples for RT-PCR. On an average 7,000 samples are being taken to conduct COVID-19 test at Government labs.

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