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I-Lab: Mobile Testing Facility

  • 19 Jun 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, the government has launched the country’s first mobile I-Lab (Infectious disease diagnostic Lab) for last mile Covid-19 testing access.

  • It has been created by a team from the Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone Limited (AMTZ) under the National Biopharma Mission.

Key Points

  • The Department of Biotechnology (DBT - Ministry of Science & Technology) under the Covid-Command strategy has supported building of mobile testing labs (I-Labs) through AMTZ.
  • The Lab belongs to the BioSafety Level (BSL-II) category.
    • BSLs are ranked from one to four and are categorised on the basis of the organisms that the researchers are dealing with. The organisms include viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc.
    • BSL-I is considered to be the least hazardous, while BSL-IV poses the maximum safety risk. Each level builds on the previous category, adding more layers of constraints and barriers.
  • It will be deployed in interior, iaccessible parts of the country and has the capability to perform 25 RT-PCR tests a day, 300 ELISA tests a day and additional tests for TB, HIV as per CGHS (Central Government Health Scheme) rates.
    • RT-PCR and ELISA tests have been approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for Covid-19.
    • CGHS provides comprehensive medical care to central government employees and pensioners enrolled under the scheme. Rates of different procedures are decided under the Scheme.

Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone Limited

  • Incorporated in 2016, it is Asia's first medical equipment manufacturing ecosystem, uniquely dedicated for Medtech and supported by various Ministries.
  • It aims to put India on the global map of high-end medical equipment production and make healthcare products affordable and accessible not only in the country, but also the world at large.
  • It also has set a target for reducing the cost of manufacturing up to 40% and also minimising the import dependency for the country, which is currently pegged at around 75%.
  • The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) along with the AMTZ has initiated the DBT-AMTZ COMManD (Covid Medtech Manufacturing Development) Consortia to address the shortage of critical healthcare technologies in India and move progressively towards a stage of self-sufficiency.

National Biopharma Mission

  • The National Biopharma Mission (NBM) is an industry-academia collaborative mission for accelerating biopharmaceutical development in the country.
  • It was launched in 2017 at a total cost of Rs.1500 crore and is 50% co-funded by World Bank loan.
  • It is being implemented by the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).
    • BIRAC is a Public Sector Enterprise, set up by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
  • Under this Mission, the Government has launched Innovate in India (i3) programme to create an enabling ecosystem to promote entrepreneurship and indigenous manufacturing in the biopharma sector.
  • It has a focus on following four verticals:
    • Development: Development of product leads for Vaccines , Biosimilars and Medical Devices that are relevant to the public health need by focussing on managed partnerships.
    • Upgrade: Upgradation of shared infrastructure facilities and establishing them as centres of product discovery/discovery validations and manufacturing.
    • Capacity Building: Developing human capital by providing specific training.
    • Industry-Academy Linkages: Developing technology transfer offices to help enhance industry academia inter-linkages.

Source: PIB

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