BMC LAUNCHES COVID TESTING BUSES AT MUMBAI
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation or the BMC as it is called by the Mumbaikers has inaugurated a bus with testing facility.
TESTING IN MOTION
Among the various states of India affected by the COVID-19 virus, Maharashtra is one of the main hotspots where the cases are rising every day. The Maharashtra Government has undertaken several steps in this regard by continuing the lockdown successfully and by spreading awareness related to keeping sanitization, maintaining social distancing stay home and stay safe.
Taking steps in this direction, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation or the BMC as it is called by the Mumbaikers has inaugurated a bus with testing facility for COVID-19. The bus is replete with technology required for conducting COVID testing. As recommended by the Indian government, the RT-PCR test must be mandatorily conducted to test someone who shows symptoms of the virus.
The ‘Covid Bus’ is designed in such a way that it can be used for mass screening through a combination of fever, O2 saturation and AI-based X-Rays for detecting coronavirus.
Moreover, the bus is equipped with RT-PCR swab facility. This is as per the government mandate.
It is reported that the bus was inaugurated on video call by the State Health Minister, Mr. Rajesh Tope, the Chief Minister Mr. Uddhav Thackeray and the Commissioner of BMC, Mr. Praveen Pardeshi.
The bus is built with the help of Krishna Diagnostics and the IIT Alumni Council, and it is for the purpose of visiting the slum dwellings in Mumbai to screen the masses living there. Hopefully that more such buses will be designed for the screening of civic bodies in other hotspots of the country as well.
WHAT IS THE RT-PCR TEST? WHAT ARE ITS BENEFITS?
The COVID-19 virus mainly affects the lungs and respiratory system of the body. Hence, the initial symptoms of a person shows includes fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Therefore, to begin a test, the samples of a nasal or pharyngeal swab is collected. Once collected using a swab, the virus is placed in a sterile medium.
The standard method of coronavirus testing is Polymerous Chain Reaction or PCR, which is a method used to replicate DNA fragments into many. The coronavirus contains an extraordinarily long RNA. To detect these viruses with PCR, these RNA molecules are converted into DNA fragments using Reverse Transcriptase. Then the newly synthesised DNA can be magnified and tested. This approach is universally known as RTPCR.
A number of RNA purification kits are available for convenient, fast and effective testing or removal of the virus. Hence, this is the testing method being used across countries affected by the virus.
SIMILAR ATTEMPTS BEING MADE
It was reported on the 8th of April that to ramp up their coronavirus testing, a private pathological lab from Mumbai started conducting drive-through tests in the city.
There are in fact, over 200 labs including both the government-run labs and the private labs conducting coronavirus tests in Mumbai.
The first-ever drive through testing lab was constructed in West Delhi and covered by The Print. A thirty metre long stretch was converted into a driveway in the Punjabi Bagh Central Market by the Dr. Dang’s Pathological Labs. It is one of the private laboratories in Delhi.
One such unique centre for testing is called the Drive-Through Testing Centre. There are three such testing centres, one in the Lower Parel area, another in Sewri and a third in Kanjurmarg.
The process is as simple as the name it is given. All you have to do is Drive Through a gate. The timings are from 8 am to 6 pm. The driver is asked to touch the car window to the window of the laboratory. The idea is that the driver does not have to come out of his car; the doctors testing him can take his nasal or pharyngeal sample from the window itself. This is a precautionary measure taken for both the doctor and the patient. The reports of the testing are given out in one or two days.
Innovation and safety are both taken care of by these laboratories.
The limitations of a Drive Through Testing however, are many. It requires a formal procedure and asks for certain documents before you can go through the test. However, it can be taken only by those who own a car.
WHY COVIDBUS OVER DRIVE-THROUGHS?
The Covid Bus invented by the BMC is mobile and has a greater reach. It does not require any formalities. It is designed in a manner such that it is able to go to the masses and the multitudes of those who do not have the privileges of getting themselves tested. There must be many who might not even be as informed as some of us about the criticality of the situation.
A common story happening in India is that many people are not even showing the initial symptoms and yet are being diagnosed with the virus. Another advantage of the BMC Covid Bus will be that it will soon reach every locality and every home, it will allow mass screenings to take place, so that if someone is diagnosed with the virus, with or without symptoms, can be quarantined before it spreads from them to another.
The invention therefore is one of imperative urgency, especially in states having an upsurge of infected people.