While it is well-recognised that expanding testing capacity is a critical element in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, testing is a logistically and technically formidable task for a large population such as ours. Research institutions have the infrastructure and technical know-how required for conducting tests.
IISER Pune has hence come forward to take on this crucial task and has set up a testing centre on the campus. The Centre began its activities from May 21, 2020. On this page are updates pertaining to the Centre.
If you wish to contribute to IISER Pune's efforts towards increasing the testing capacity in Pune for COVID-19, please follow this link.
Support from Cipla Foundation
Cipla Foundation has supported the COVID-19 Testing Centre to procure essential consumables. Over 30,000 samples received from hospitals in Pune have been tested so far, since the Centre became functional in May 2020. Cipla Foundation and IISER Pune partnership goes back a long way, from contributing towards outreach and educational activities by building a world-class Chemistry Lab at the institute to advancing testing in COVID time. We thank Cipla Foundation for this continued association.
Support from IDeaS
Integrated Decisions and Systems India Pvt (IDeaS), Pune, supported the testing centre with a sum of Rs. 2 Lakhs. IISER Pune is grateful for this timely support by IDeaS.
ICICI Lombard Funds the Procurement of RT-PCR Machine for COVID-19 Testing Centre
August 21, 2020
ICICI Lombard has come forward to fund the procurement of an RT-PCR machine for IISER Pune. It has contributed ₹20 lakh as part of the initiative. IISER Pune’s testing capacity is about 250 at the moment. As of August 15, the Centre has tested 15,000 samples. This support would help with the aim to increase the testing capacity. ICICI Lombard’s financial support for the RT-PCR machine at IISER Pune’s COVID-19 testing centre comes at an opportune moment and is an important contribution to fight COVID-19.
SPPU Team Joins IISER Pune in COVID-19 Testing
June 11, 2020
A group of faculty members from Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) have now begun to volunteer at the IISER Pune COVID-19 Testing Centre. These members have completed the necessary health check-up and have participated in a detailed orientation session on June 8, 2020 that was arranged by the COVID-19 Action Team from IISER Pune. SPPU members will begin regular testing activities from tomorrow, June 12, 2020.
To expand COVID-19 testing capability and pipeline output, SPPU will also be placing two RT-PCR machines for data validations at the IISER Pune COVID-19 Testing Centre. Nodal Officer Prof. Anjan Banerjee has informed that this addition can help the Centre process up to 250 samples per day. Currently, the Centre is processing on an average 150 samples per day.
IISER Pune welcomes colleagues from SPPU and hopes to together contribute to increasing the testing capacity for COVID-19 in Pune.
The COVID-19 Testing Centre at IISER Pune Begins Testing Acitivity
May 21, 2020
With the help of volunteers from within the IISER Pune community including students, staff and faculty members, and led by the institute's Action Committee on COVID-19, the Centre has now commenced testing activities from today. Throat and nasal swab samples are expected to arrive at the centre every day from government hospitals, which will be tested for the presence of the virus causing COVID-19 using an ICMR approved kit.
Preparations for setting up the Centre began in full swing sometime in mid-April. A small group led by a few faculty members in the biology department assessed feasibility and established the required physical infrastructure.
Following approval from the Apex Committee of the institute for this activity, a call for technically qualified volunteers with diverse skill sets from within the institute was sent out for carrying out various aspects of the testing.
Standard Operating Procedures have been drawn up with help and inputs from mentor institute Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), National Institute of Virology (NIV), and the National Centre for Cell Sciences (NCCS).
"Realising the need for more COVID-19 testing in Pune, a few faculty members came together to set up a testing facility that meets all in-house and ICMR safety and other procedural requirements. Getting the testing facility ready quickly is a testament to their commitment and the effort they as well as supporting staff put in. The advice and help of the NIV and AFMC was invaluable. The testing facility is now being run with volunteers who have been properly trained, and I am sure that it will become one of the more efficient testing facilities in the country," said IISER Pune Director Prof Jayant Udgaonkar.
Nodal officer for the facility Prof Anjan Banerjee informed that the IISER Pune Action Committee has considered utmost safety measures and complied with all guidelines as well as directives suggested by the Institute's bio-safety committee.
During the days leading up to the commencement of the centre's activities, the team has arranged for multiple mock drills and volunteer training sessions with help from officials from the NIV. The volunteer team is now working on efficient patient data processing to facilitate reporting.
After a review of the facility, workflow, safety guidelines, and SOPs by experts from NIV and AFMC, the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has now accorded approval for the Centre.
With the setting up of this centre, IISER Pune hopes to contribute to the much-needed expansion of the testing capability in the country for COVID-19.