MAHARASHTRA reported 18 new coronavirus cases since Monday night, taking the number of cases in the State to 107, the highest in the country so far, officials said. While 10 cases were detected on Tuesday, eight were confirmed late on Monday night. On the other hand, in some good news, a dozen coronavirus patients undergoing treatment in Mumbai have been “cured”, officials said. Of the 18 new patients, six were from Mumbai, four from Islampur in Sangli district, three from Pune, two from Satara and one each from Ahmednagar, Kalyan-Dombivli and Thane, a health department official said. At least eight of these patients had travel history to West Asian countries and eight others had returned from the United States, UK and South America, he said.
Two patients are suspected to have contracted the infection from previously diagnosed COVID-19 carriers, the official said. At present, 41 patients are being treated in Mumbai, while three have succumbed to the infection in the state. As many as 18 persons are undergoing treatment in Pune and 12 in Pimpri Chinchwad. Navi Mumbai and Kalyan Dombivli areas have five patients each, while Nagpur, Yavatmal and Sangli have four each. Thane and Ahmednagar have three patients each, while Satara has two. Panvel, Ulhasnagar, Aurangabad, Vasai-Virar, Ratnagiri and Pune Rural have one patient each. In the last four days, daily detection figure of positive cases in the state is in double digits, officials noted. A 65-year-old coronavirus patient died in Mumbai on Monday evening, taking the death toll due to COVID-19 in the metropolis to three, as per the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
The deceased man had recently returned from the United Arab Emirates to Ahmedabad. He later complained of fever, cough and difficulty in breathing and was admitted to Kasturba Hospital in Mumbai, the BMC said in a statement on Tuesday. He had pre-existing ailments including high blood pressure and severe diabetes, it added. Speaking to reporters, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that two of the COVID-19 patients in the State were in critical condition. The Minister also said that around 15 coronavirus patients in the state have responded well to treatment and they could be discharged soon, but the final decision will be taken by the doctors. Earlier on Tuesday morning, BMC officials said that 12 COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital in Mumbai have been cured of the deadly viral infection.
Pune-based firm develops kit for faster confirmation of COVID-19 cases
IN WHAT may go down as an important solution in India’s fight against coronavirus, Pune-based Mylabs Discovery Solutions has created an indigenous solution to test patients for COVID-19 that can halve the time taken for results. The molecular diagnostic company, which received statutory approvals late on Monday from authorities, can manufacture over 15,000 testing kits per day from its facility at Lonavala in Pune district and the same will be ramped up to 25,000 kits per day, its co-founder Shrikant Patole said. Citing the experience in South Korea, the World Health Organisation has been stressing on the importance of tests to fight the pandemic, which has so far claimed nine lives in India. Though around 500 people have been tested positive for the virus in India so far, experts are bracing for a sharp increase fearing it may have spread across and also point out to a low level of testing in the country.
Patole explained that the company is able to shorten the test time to 2.5 hours with the ‘Mylab PathoDetect COVID-19 Qualitative PCR kit’ as against the prevalent 6-8 hours because its team has created a solution that does both the screening and confirmation jobs simultaneously. Its team of 25 scientists started working on the solution six weeks ago, fearing that the crisis may eventually hit India, he said, adding that the company had started as a trading firm in 2012 and diversified into research in 2016. The test for COVID-19 will also pick up positive cases among asymptomatic patients, Patole said. , adding that the approvals from the National Institute of Virology, Indian Council of Medical Research and Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) were received after a test sampling on patients at Mumbai’s Kasturba Hospital which is the nodal location for treating coronavirus cases.
He did, however, specify the sample size where the kit was used to confirm results. The Mylab kit was selected along with a solution offered by a German company for the tests. Patole explained that till now, India has been using kits prepared by the State-run National Institute of Virology (NIV), also based in Pune, but it was the fears over the increase in numbers which made private sector interventions in manufacturing necessary.
The testing kits done by NIV are costing up to Rs 4,500 per sample if we include both screening and confirmation, Patole said, claiming that Mylabs is confident of selling the kits at a fourth of that cost. He said allowing private labs to conduct tests is essential given the potential threats. Patole also said that its kit can work within the infrastructure for testing available with Indian diagnostic labs, and does not require any new machinery, which the most imported. The company is in the process of creating similar test kits for HIV, hepatitis-B and also tuberculosis. A team of four founders and investors have invested over Rs 25 crore in the company till now and there are no external investors, Patole said. The company is looking to rope in investors, he added.