Transasia & AMTZ launch India’s first mobile lab for COVID-19 testing

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Transasia Bio-Medicals Ltd. has partnered with Andhra Pradesh Medical Technology Zone (AMTZ) to launch a mobile COVID-19 test lab to help faster and safer testing across India. Named Infectious Disease Diagnostic Lab (iLAB), this state-of-the-art mobile microbial containment (BSL-2) laboratory was made in Transasia’s Vizag manufacturing facility at AMTZ, Asia’s first medical device manufacturing park at Vishakhapatnam in partnership with Bharat Benz and support of Department of Biotechnology (DBT) Government of India. Transasia Bio-Medicals Ltd. is instrumental in placing Erba IVD analyzers and reagent kits in iLAB along with conducting COVID-19 testing as well as maintaining the mobile laboratory, as it travels across villages and towns in India.

Conceived and developed at lightning speed and manufactured and assembled in 8 days at Transasia’s Vizag manufacturing facility
Named iLAB, it was officially flagged off by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, WHO Executive Board Chairman and Minister of Health and Family Welfare, GoI, in New Delhi.

Fully equipped to do COVID-19 testing, this mobile lab will cater to the Indian heartland; and is being deployed in slums and villages to improve access, besides hotspots and containment zones.

This mobile lab will strengthen GoI’s testing strategy and include testing of healthcare and essential service workers across India
Serology tests aid in better understanding of how much of the population has been infected and tracking the spread of disease over time and geographies.

Embodies the spirit of Atmanirbhar Bharat and ‘Make in India’

Dr. Jitendar Sharma, CEO of AMTZ and his entire team have been deeply instrumental in conceiving, designing and setting up the iLAB.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, WHO Executive Board Chairman and Minister of Health and Family Welfare, GoI flagged off the mobile lab at New Delhi in the presence of Dr. Alka Sharma, Advisor, and Dr. Renu Swarup, Secretary, DBT, Ministry of Science and Technology, GoI. The unique mobile lab vehicle is capable of diagnosing all infectious diseases. “To ensure testing facilities in far-flung areas, such innovations have been developed to cater to the interior and inaccessible parts of the country,” conveyed Dr. Harsh Vardhan during the launch.

“As a healthcare contributor to the nation, we have been quite eager to participate in the Government’s agenda in protecting and saving the people from this pandemic. Considering the urgency, we have been working aggressively even during lock down in getting the iLAB geared up for COVID-19 testing. With this innovative iLAB, we are now ready to commence testing immediately,” said Suresh Vazirani, CMD, Transasia-Erba Group.

“This initiative embodies our vision of creating a healthier and happier world,” added Vazirani.

Transasia will be using ICMR and NIV approved ErbaLisa COVID-19 IgG ELISA kits for testing which comprises both screening and confirmatory tests. This serology test helps identify and isolate infected individuals. It also aids in better understanding how much of the population has been infected and tracking the spread of disease over time. Besides this, a range of immunology analyzers to test these samples and a biochemistry analyzer for evaluating important parameters that should be monitored during infections like COVID-19, such as analytes, electrolytes, proteins, substrates, immunoturbimetric assays and special chemistries have been installed.

“We are glad and proud to be the technology partner of choice for AMTZ and Department of Biotechnology, GoI and to extend our technical and clinical expertise in developing this innovative ‘lab on wheels’ in the nation’s mission to fight against COVID-19. This collaboration with GoI builds on Transasia’s 41-years-old legacy of providing high quality products at affordable cost across the heartland of India,” said Ravi Kaushik, CEO, Transasia Bio-Medicals Ltd.

“We take pride in driving this idea from concept to reality, working closely with AMTZ. The iLAB will allow for COVID-19 testing access to thousands of patients in remote areas who would otherwise find it difficult to reach a lab and get a test done. It goes beyond free testing by providing diagnosis at the doorstep of needy patients,” Ravi Kaushik added.

A dedicated team of lab technologists, application and service engineers will handle the COVID-19 samples and testing process with additional layers of safety and priority in the mobile van. The mobile lab has the capacity to conduct 200 RT-PCR tests and 400 ELISA tests in a day. The lab will function like a typical pathology lab with sample collection, diagnostics, and reporting on the same day. The entire process of collection, testing and issuing of reports will be governed by the guidelines issued by ICMR, GoI and the State Health Department.

On a Bharat Benz chassis, the mobile lab has BSL-2 cabinet, cleanroom, latest medical equipment for diagnosis of COVID and other infectious diseases, air conditioning, AHU, supply of reagents and consumables, personal protective equipment needed for the technicians, furniture, internet security, camer and GPS locator.

iLAB consists of 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 bio-hazard wastes and decontamination by autoclaving. The lab has a provision for storing and donning PPEs; storage of used aprons; and emergency body shower and eye wash.

The lab is capable of traveling at a speed of 50 to 100 kmph and can travel large distances for sample collection, analysis, and giving results. The iLAB container can also be lifted from the automotive chassis and can be put on the goods train and can be sent anywhere in the country, with the help of railways.