IIT Madras gets a mobile detection facility for COVID-19. Here's how it can help those in remote areas

The van can travel to areas that are difficult to access, perform sample collection plus, process and analyse samples in real-time
Picture for representational purposes only | (Picture: Express)
Picture for representational purposes only | (Picture: Express)

A mobile COVID-19 diagnostic facility that can travel to areas difficult to access for conducting tests was inspected by Tamil Nadu Minister Ma Subramanian at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, on Saturday, January 22.

The unit Parakh has been housed in a van which can be deployed in remote locations for testing samples to detect COVID-19 infection.

The facility would be useful to detect outbreaks in rural areas where testing facilities are immediately not available, IIT Madras said. The van can travel to areas that are difficult to access, perform sample collection plus, process and analyse samples in real-time.

The Minister for Medical and Family Welfare, along with Health Department Principal Secretary J Radhakrishnan and IIT Madras Director Prof V Kamakoti, inspected the facility at the IIT Madras.

"I am happy to review this mobile diagnostic facility which can detect diseases and has been gifted to IIT Madras by BIRAC (Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council) at Rs 50 lakh. This lab will benefit everyone and is being operated by a large technical team," the minister said. Subramanian also inaugurated a vaccination camp at the IIT Madras campus coinciding with the 19th Mega Vaccination Camp currently being held across Tamil Nadu by the Health Department.

"This vaccination camp will be for the benefit of faculty and staff of the institute along with the public residing in the area," he said.
Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council funded the mobile diagnostic facility while the chassis of the van was donated by German truck manufacturer Daimler India Commercial Vehicle, makers of Bharat Benz range of trucks, and the lab testing equipment was provided by Microflow Devices India.

Director Prof V Kamakoti said the vaccination camp would ensure that the message reaches the public and encourages them to take the vaccine, especially those younger than 18 years of age and those who are older than 60 years for their booster doses.

The mobile diagnostic facility can be deployed for surveillance of any infectious diseases such as dengue, tuberculosis and other kinds of viral outbreaks, said an official from the institute.

The facility tests and analyses in real-time and connects with hospitals and health centres in urban areas. The data can, therefore, be accessed promptly by health officials and enable a rapid response, he said.

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