Karnataka Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar on Saturday inaugurated a biosafety level two (BSL-2) dedicated COVID and Virology lab in Chikkaballapura, a district neighbouring Bengaluru. Chikkaballapura is incidentally the constituency from where he was recently reelected in the byepolls.
BSL-2 laboratories are equipped to study moderate-risk infectious agents or toxins that pose a risk if accidentally inhaled, swallowed, or exposed to the skin and require suitable design and structure, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
"The state-of-the-art lab is temperature controlled and complete clean air lab with fully automated machine for autolysis with RNA extraction," said an official.
It has contamination free passage for samples through ultra violet pass boxes without the need for room to room human movement. Bio-medical waste disposal from the lab is also carried through contamination free ISO - 8 classification process, the official said.
This development comes as the state is struggling with a huge backlog despite having almost 10% of all labs in India in total, a Times of India report recently highlighted. While the daily capacity of these labs are at 31,000 daily COVID-19 tests, the actual numbers have almost remained at half. The highest that the state achieved in a day has been at 18,307 while the full capacity is at 31,116, the report stated.
As a possible remedy, the state government on Friday said it would conduct 20,000 rapid antigen tests in Bengaluru from July 11.
Other announcements by minister for the district
Later as part of his visit, Dr Sudhakar, the in-charge Minister for Chikkaballapura district distributed battery operated rickshaws to 12 unemployed youth under the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana.
Costing Rs 1.5 lakh per unit, the battery rickshaws have a range of 75 km when charged for 3 - 8 hours.
The minister also inaugurated a couple of parks at municipal layout and Integrated Development of Small and Medium Towns (IDSMT) in Chikkaballapura and distributed land titles for free plots to 29 sanitation workers (pourakarmikas).
He also gave away scholarships worth Rs 8.47 lakh to SC and ST (Scheduled Caste and Tribe) students.