Health Minister Launches COBAS 6800 testing machine for COVID-19

May 14: Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare dedicated the COBAS 6800 testing machine to the nation, here today. This is the first such testing machine that has been procured by the Government for testing of COVID-19 cases and is installed at the National Centre for Disease Control.

The Union Health Minister also visited the Control Room and the Testing Laboratories and reviewed the current status of COVID-19 testing with Dr. S K Singh, Director (NCDC) and senior officials. Highlighting the achievements in ramping up the testing capability, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “We have now developed a capacity to conduct 1,00,000 tests per day. Today marks an important milestone as we have tested nearly 20 lakh tests for COVID-19 mark at more than 500 laboratories including 359 Government laboratories and 145 private laboratories in the country”.

Highlighting its other features, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that COBAS 6800 is a sophisticated machine enabled with robotics that minimizes the chance of contamination as well as the risk of infection to the health care workers since it can be operated remotely with limited human intervention. As the machine requires a minimum BSL2+ containment level for testing, it cannot be placed at just any facility. COBAS 6800 can also detect other pathogens like Viral Hepatitis B & C, HIV, MTb (both rifampicin and isoniazide resistance), Papilloma, CMV, Chlamydia, Neiserreia etc.

Expressing his deep gratitude to the selfless services being rendered every day since the beginning of the pandemic, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “I salute the pathologists, lab technicians, scientists and other staff who are our ‘Corona Warriors’ and working under tremendous risky conditions in their line of duty, day and night to save the fellow countrymen.” He added that the nation needs to shun stigma and applaud the contribution of these frontline healthcare providers.

As of 14th May 2020, a total of 78,003 cases have been reported from the country in which 26,235 persons have been cured and 2,549 deaths had occurred. In the last 24 hours, 3,722 new confirmed cases have been added.

Source: PIB