THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state has received the first batch of 1,000 rapid RT PCR testing kits to detect Covid-19 infection on humans. The set of kits arrived in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday from a special Mylab laboratory in Pune which has been approved by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan handed over the kits to District Collector K Gopalakrishnan.
Sources said the first batch of kits will be used for testing at Pothencode which is now considered as the red zone in the district. The next set consisting of 2,000 kits will arrive on Sunday. The advantage of the rapid testing kit is that the virus infection could be detected in two-and-a-half hours. This will help contain the spread of virus to a great extent. In normal test facilities, the process will last for around seven hours to detect whether a person is infected or not. The kits have been brought here with the financial support of Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor. He has spent `57 lakh from the MPLAD funds to procure the kits.
CM pat for Tharoor
Pinarayi Vijayan appreciated the effort of Tharoor in the press conference and said that the facility will be used extensively in the state as part of resisting the further spread of the disease. Tharoor had also given Rs 1 crore to Sree Chitra Institute for developing its testing kits, which will be sent to the ICMR for approval.
Earlier, the chief minister had expressed the need for rapid testing kits during a video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterparts in other states. The chief minister had sought the Centre’s help in procuring kits from Hong Kong. The state has so far recorded two deaths due to Covid-19, with one of them being reported from Pothencode on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram. The panchayat area in which the deceased resided has been under total shutdown for the past five days.