- DFRL donates Mobile Containment Lab PARAKH to K.R. Hospital on National Technology Day today
- State-of-the-art machine a boon during Biological Emergency
Mysore/Mysuru: The Mysuru District Administration and the Mysore Medical College and Research Institute (MMCR&I) attached to K.R. Hospital, have got a shot in the arm for testing COVID-19 cases with a new testing facility donated by Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL), Mysuru, this morning.
With this, the number of testing in Mysuru that stands at over 300 per day at present can be increased up to 700 per day to meet a target of 1,000 with two more machines donated by Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysuru recently.
The innovative, state-of-the-art “PARAKH- a Mobile Microbial Containment (BSL-3) Laboratory developed by DFRL, Mysuru, was handed over by DFRL Director Dr. Anil Dutt Semwal to Dr. C.P. Nanjaraj, Dean & Director, MMC&RI.
Identifies pathogen and toxins
This readily deployable laboratory can be used for rapid detection and characterisation of pathogen and toxins in food and water. The laboratory is an autonomous 20 feet container mounted on Ashok Leyland truck. It is capable of identifying select food-borne pathogen and toxins (Anthrax, Brucellosis, Salmonella, Shigella, E. Coli, Listeria, Yersinia, Botulinum, Staphylococcal Enterotoxin, Afla toxin, Ochra toxin, etc,) using both immunological and molecular test.
Now this ultra-modern testing facility has been handed over to MMC&RI to test COVID-19 patients. Incidentally, today (May 11) is National Technology Day which marks significant milestone in the history of India’s technological innovations as India successfully tested nuclear bombs in Pokhran on May 11, 1998.
According to Dr. Anil Dutt Semwal, PARAKH adheres to ‘Class ISO 7’ and operated with negative pressure to handle clinical, food and environmental samples during Biological Emergency without any risk to personal and environment.
“It is equipped with dynamic pass box for transferring the samples directly inside the Class-III biosafety cabinet for safe handling. It has complete Heating Ventilation Air Condition (HVAC) for maintenance of unidirectional airflow and room pressure gradients of negative pressure as compared to the ambient,” he said.
The Lab has been provided with PCR workstation, real-time PCR Machine, incubator, deep freezer and refrigerator for testing samples and storing reagents with provision for treatment of liquid effluents, safe storage of solid biohazard wastes and decontamination by autoclaving. The facility also has provision for storing and donning Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), storage of used aprons along with emergency body shower and eye wash.
The mobile lab, equipped with captive and raw power supply, fuel and water, can be easily transported by road and deployed at the site of emergency as per the requirement. PARAKH is provided with air bellow suspension to reduce the vibration during transport and air compressor for inflating tyres, he added.
Ready for 1,000 tests per day
Addressing reporters during the launch, Dr. C.P. Nanjaraj, Director, MMC&RI, said that they had learnt about the Mobile Microbial Containment Laboratory and the DFRL readily agreed to hand it over for COVID-19 tests.
“Dr. Anuradha, Head, Microbiology and Dr. Amrutha, Officer in charge of Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratory (VRDL), visited DFRL and found it extremely good, advanced and safe to test the killer virus,” he said.
On the number of tests the PARAKH can perform, he said that it has the capacity to test 300 patients. “Mysuru Deputy Commissioner Abhiram G. Sankar has asked us to be ready for at least 1,000 COVID tests per day. The VRDL located at Microbiology Wing of MMC&RI (K.R. Hospital) tests 300 samples per day as it functions round-the- clock. PARAKH can test an additional 300. Together, PARAKH and VRDL can stretch up to 700 tests per day. Also, the CFTRI has donated two PACR machines that can test another 300 patients. Altogether, we are ready for 1,000 tests,” he added.
Dr. Anuradha, Dr. Amrutha and Dr. H.B. Sashidhara from MMC&RI, Dr. M.M. Parida, Head, Food Microbiology, Dr. N. Gopalan, Dr. Joseph Kingston and Jayaprakash from DFRL were present during the Mobile Lab handing over ceremony.