UK strain: Demand for upgraded labs surge in Karnataka | Hubballi News – Times of India


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HUBBALLI: With cases of a mutant strain of coronavirus from the United Kingdom being recorded across the state, the demand for upgraded laboratories is surging.
During the initial days when Covid-19 cases were reported, Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) struggled to treat Covid positive patients due to the delay in getting test reports from Shimoga, Bengaluru and Pune.
KIMS was eventually equipped with latest machines to test the swab samples. Subsequently, thousands of samples were tested and Covid patients received timely treatment. Now, when suddenly the new UK variant of Covid is in the news, health professionals and the public are demanding for an upgraded Viral Research Diagnostic Lab (VRDL) lab at KIMS to conduct test for the new variant before the situation turns worse.
“When the UK returnees had to be tested for the new strain of Covid, the samples were sent to Bengaluru. Currently in Karnataka, there are two labs equipped with required machines for tests and both are in Bengaluru — NIMHANS and National Institute of Virology (NIV),” said KIMS director Dr Ramalingappa.
AAP working committee member Vikas Soppin said, “Many experts have opined that the UK variant of Covid-19 spreads faster. In such circumstances, the health infrastructures should not be centralised at one place, the government should upgrade the VRDL lab of KIMS, so that the situation can be handled properly,” he added.
KIMS governing council member Dr G B Sattur said routine RT PCR tests are being done to the all patients coming with Covid symptoms currently. “The samples of Covid positive patients with travel history to UK and other countries are being sent to higher centres in Pune or Bangalore for genome sequencing of variant coronavirus,” he said.
“At this stage, I don’t think there is a need for upgrading the lab in KIMS, as of now no treatment specially designed to tackle the new strain. Nevertheless, attempts are on to study the nature and susceptibility of variant viruses to many antiviral drugs,” he added.

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Sagar Biswas

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