Virus research lab at KMC spends Rs 2.41 crore on machines, does not use them even once
Two high-end machines -- advanced flow cytometry analyser and confocal microscope -- were installed at the lab in 2019 primarily for virus research projects.
Published: 03rd March 2022 06:14 AM | Last Updated: 03rd March 2022 06:14 AM | A+A A-
KOZHIKODE: Besides the corruption in equipment purchase at Virus Research and Diagnostic Lab (VRDL) under the department of microbiology at Kozhikode Medical College Hospital, gross mismanagement has also come to light at the institution.
Two high-end machines -- advanced flow cytometry analyser and confocal microscope -- were installed at the lab in 2019 primarily for virus research projects. But until now, neither of the machines has been used even once, sources said.
The three-year warranty of the machines will end this year and from next year, the government has to shell out Rs 8. 92 lakh (Rs 5.54 lakh for confocal microscope and Rs 3.38 lakh for flow cytometry analyser) for annual maintenance every year till 2032.
As per ICMR guidelines, these two machines are recommended for regional labs only, for highly specialised research needs. “The Regional VRDL may be asked to justify purchases of these equipment with precise purpose and proposed experiments.
The operations of these machines require training and expensive reagents on regular basis,” say the guidelines. Sources told TNIE that the process to buy the two machines worth crores — Rs 1.11 crore for confocal microscope and Rs 1.29 crore for flow cytometry analyser — started in 2017 itself when VRDL only had the status of a state lab. It became regional lab only in March 2019.
The machines were bought through Kerala Medical Services Corporation Ltd which has already been in the dock over several bribe allegations in equipment purchase during the pandemic.
We have used them: HoD
Mirobiology department head Dr Beena Philomina J told TNIE that VRDL had used both the machines. “We had started using the machines before Covid outbreak. We prepared project proposals and sent them for approval (before buying them),” she said.