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Coronavirus: India gets first automated COVID-19 testing machine ‘COBAS 6800’ that can test 1200 samples in 24-hours

Dr. Harshavardhan mentioned that COBAS 6800 is a sophisticated machine enabled with robotics that minimizes the chance of contamination and the risk of infection to the health care workers.

Amidst the grave health crisis created by the Wuhan COronavirus across the world, when the population is drastically being infected with the novel coronavirus, there is a need to test a larger number of samples per day. With a significant development in this regard from the Indian Health authorities, an innovative way to test 1200 persons per day was inaugurated by the Union Health Minister today. Union Health Minister Dr. Harshvardhan inaugurated the first automated coronavirus testing device named ‘COBAS 6800’ that can test over 1200 samples in 24-hours. Dr. Harshavardhan announced the arrival of the automated testing machine on twitter.

The machine can perform real-time PCR testing, the most reliable test to detect the presence of Novel Coronavirus. Dr. Harshavardhan described the features of the COBAS 6800 stating that it will provide quality, high-volume testing with a high throughput of testing approx 1200 samples per 24 hours. He mentioned that COBAS 6800 is a sophisticated machine enabled with robotics that minimizes the chance of contamination and the risk of infection to the health care workers. Reportedly the COBAS 6800 can also detect other ailments like Hepatitis B&C, HIV, MTb, Papilloma, CMV, Chlamydia, Neisseria, etc.

In an address to the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), the Union Minister affirmed that we have now developed a capacity to conduct 1 lakh tests per day. The COBAS 6800 is the first such testing machine procured by the Government for testing COVID-19 cases and it has been installed at the NCDC. 

Dr. Harshavardhan in an address said, “Today, there are 14 States/UTs that have not reported any cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours — Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Goa, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Puducherry, Telangana. Also, Daman & Diu, Sikkim, Nagaland and Lakshadweep.”

The COBAS 6800 has been developed by Roche Diagnostics, which has been designed for high throughput applications such as viral load IVD monitoring, blood screening, microbiology testing and women’s health. The machine can run up to 384 tests in an 8-hour shift, with with only 3 user interactions per run.

As per Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data the country has reported 78003 coronavirus cases till 14 May with a surge of 3722 cases in the last 24-hours. 26235 people have been recovered from the disease while 2549 have been reported dead due to epidemic.

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