COVID-19: IIT Alumni Council to Set up Laboratory that can Test 10 Million a Month

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Arunasish Sen

Content Curator

As the number of coronavirus cases in India keeps rising by the day, the IIT Alumni Council has said that it will establish a large genetic testing laboratory called MegaLab in Mumbai to conduct tests for infectious diseases, including coronavirus.

The laboratory will be able to carry out 10 million RT_PCR tests every month. The IIT body will recruit partners through a global competition to run the laboratory.

To establish the laboratory, the council has consulted several domain experts from virology, RTPCR machine manufacturing, test kits, pooling algorithms, artificial intelligence, robotics and microfluidics.

Ravi Sharma, the president of the IIT Alumni Council, said, “MegaLab will be based on the end-to-end Kodoy indigenous technology stack and will have adequate capacity for testing the entire population of Mumbai for infectious disease, once a month.”

RT-PCR test is a real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test which qualitatively detects nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2 in the upper and lower respiratory specimens gathered from individuals symptomatic of coronavirus.

The Kodoy Stack is an end-to-end technology stack for molecular diagnostic laboratories. It can be a massive central laboratory that will be able to conduct millions of tests every month, a point-of-care location like a clinic with a few daily test requirements, or a moving vehicle such as a test bus. The stack relies on the extraction of samples by the patient themselves and uses an RtqPCR machine and test kit.

After the lockdown began on 25 March, the IIT Alumni Council built a coronavirus taskforce with K Vijay Raghavan as chairman. 20 other directors from different IITS were included as members.