COVID-19: India gets first automated testing machine COBAS 6800, can also detect Hepatitis and HIV

14 May, 2020 | newsx bureau

Coronavirus update National

COVID-19: Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan dedicates testing machine COBAS 6800 to the nation which can also detect other pathogens like viral Hepatitis B and C, HIV, MTb, both rifampicin.

COVID-19: Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on Thursday dedicated to the nation COBAS 6800, the first automated testing machine procured by the government for testing of COVID-19 cases. The machine has been installed at the NCDC. The Union Health Minister also visited the control room and the testing laboratories and reviewed the current status of COVID-19 testing. He was accompanied by Dr. S K Singh, Director, NCDC, and senior officials.

Highlighting the achievements in ramping up the testing capability, Dr. Vardhan said: “We have now developed a capacity to conduct 1,00,000 tests per day. Today marks an important milestone as we have tested nearly 20 lakh tests for COVID-19 at more than 500 laboratories including 359 government laboratories and 145 private laboratories in the country.”

He further said: “The NCDC has been now equipped with the COBAS 6800, a fully automated, high-end machine for performing real-time PCR testing COVID-19 in the service of the nation. COBAS 6800 will provide quality, high-volume testing with a high throughput of test around 1200 samples in 24 hours.” Highlighting its other features, Dr Vardhan said that COBAS 6800 is a sophisticated machine enabled with robotics that minimizes the chance of contamination as well as the risk of infection to the health care workers since it can be operated remotely with limited human intervention.

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As the machine requires a minimum BSL2+ containment level for testing, it cannot be placed at just any facility. COBAS 6800 can also detect other pathogens like viral Hepatitis B and C, HIV, MTb, both rifampicin and isoniazid resistance, Papilloma, CMV, Chlamydia, Neiserreia, etc. Talking about corona patients, he said that as of yesterday, there are 3 percent active COVID-19 patients in ICU, 0.39 percent on ventilators, and 2.7 percent on oxygen support. “Today, there are 14 States/UTs that have not reported any cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours — Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Dadra, and Nagar Haveli, Goa, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Puducherry, Telangana. Also, Daman & Diu, Sikkim, Nagaland and Lakshadweep,” he said. As of May 14, a total of 78,003 cases have been reported from the country in which 26,235 persons have been cured and 2,549 deaths have occurred. In the last 24 hours, 3,722 new confirmed cases have been added.