The lab at TRIHMS in Naharlagun has a capacity of testing a hundred samples per day in its initial stage

Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday became the third state in Northeast India to set up a COVID-19 testing lab with the inauguration of a virology laboratory at Tomo Riba Institute of Health & Medical Sciences (TRIHMS) at Naharlagun.

The much-required laboratory, installed within a record time of four weeks, was inaugurated by health and family welfare minister Alo Libang on Thursday.

The lab has a capacity of testing a hundred samples per day in its initial stage.

Libang, who lauded the combined efforts of the health department and the state government for the successful installation of the COVID-19 testing lab at TRIHMS, said that the government is planning to establish one more lab in Pasighat soon.

“Once these labs are installed, it can collect and test the samples of around 200 people per day,” he said while adding that the lab will also provide services to the nearby districts of the state and also that of Assam.

The minister also informed that the health department is working out the modalities for the construction of a COVID-19 hospital at Midhpu near Itanagar soon.

Dr Mika Umpo, the state nodal officer for COVID-19 lab, said that there are four diagnostic protocols for COVID-19 tests in the state — rapid test, cartridge-based nucleic acid amplification test (CBNAAT), Truenat and real-time test.

He said that the rapid and Truenat tests are usually used for screening and CBNAAT for confirmatory and real-time for advanced testing.

“The state presently has two real-time PCR machines, one procured by the health department and the other was contributed by the Liver foundation, West Bengal secretary Dr Abijit Choudhry in collaboration with a US based NGO,” Dr Umpo said.

“We are making sure that the other real-time PCR machine is also installed by tomorrow. As of now we have around ten staffers but will need more in the days to come if samples start coming fast,” he added.

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