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Coronavirus: What's delaying delivery of Gonoshasthaya Kendra test kits?

  • Published at 10:54 am April 11th, 2020
Gonoshasthaya Kendra Collected

There have been reports of power outage

Gonoshasthaya Kendra Founder Zafrullah Chowdhury has said they had to cancel the coronavirus testing kit handover ceremony due to an electromagnetic disruption which hampered the production.

The samples made were destroyed due to the disruption, he said on Friday.

After visiting the Gonoshasthaya Kendra in Savar, Dhaka Tribune got to know from employees at the Kendra that no power outage took place on Friday, however, before that, electricity supply was interrupted twice everyday, which according to them was not an issue as the Kendra has its own backup generator.

Gonoshasthaya Dialysis Centre Assistant Project Engineer Liton Kumar Das, while speaking to Dhaka Tribune, said: “The electricity supply did not create any problem, but due to high voltage supply, the production was hampered, as the machinery malfunctioned.

“Generally, 220 volt of electricity is required for the kit production, whereas it was 250-260 volts. We have already brought a voltage stabilizer from Dhaka and there is no issue at the moment,” Liton added.

Gonoshasthaya Project Coordinator Monjurul Alam said they have overcome the issue with the high voltage supply but he was unsure about when they can deliver the coronavirus testing kits.

Dhaka Palli Biddyut 1 Palashbari Zone Senior General Manager Azhar Ali said due to most of the factories remaining closed for the general holiday, the voltage supply is a bit high.

In the greater interest of the nation, all kinds of support including manpower will be provided to the Kendra for the testing kit production, Azhar said.

On Wednesday, in a press release, Gonoshasthaya Kendra announced to formally handover its Covid-19 testing kit, GR Covid-19 Dot Blot, to government authorities on Saturday (April 11).

An official handover ceremony was scheduled to be held on the sixth floor of Gonoshasthaya Nagar Hospital at Dhanmondi in Dhaka at 11am on Saturday. 

The release also said the kit will be provided to international public health organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for testing and feedback.

Earlier on March 17, Gonoshasthaya Kendra declared that they had developed a cheap testing kit that can examine samples to detect Covid-19 in as little as 15 minutes.

A technical team of Gonoshasthaya-RNA Biotech Limited developed the testing kits and it cost about Tk2 crore.

After a two-month research, Prof Dr Bijon Kumar Sil, head of the Department of Microbiology at Gono Bishwabidyalay, and his four associates Dr Nihad Adnan, Dr Md Raed Jamiruddin, Dr Firoze Ahmed, and Dr Muhibullah Khandaker, invented the kit.

The team received a green signal from the government over two weeks ago to import the raw materials for producing the testing kits. 

Researchers say the testing kit can detect coronavirus infection in 15 minutes and is expected to cost around Tk300-350 each.

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