Kerala government received its first batch of 1,000 (fast acting) testing kits to diagnose COVID-19 and amp up its testing capacity in the state. Congress leader and Thiruvananthapuram MP (member of parliament) Shashi Tharoor played a crucial role in sourcing these testing kits from Pune-based Mylab Discovery Solutions Pvt Ltd, which are in high demand. The kits were flown in a special Spice Jet cargo flight from Pune to Kozhikode on Thursday night and then taken to Thiruvananthapuram via road.
Last month, the Pune-based molecular diagnostics company Mylab produced testing kits to detect COVID-19 and was approved by the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Responding to TNMâs query via email, Shashi Tharoor said that he sourced 3,000 testing kits for his own constituency, Thiruvananthapuram. He also said that he bought the kits in two batches from his MP Funds or Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) fund.
The first batch of 1000 #rapidtestkits was delivered to Thiruvananthapuram constituency today after a terrific logistics effort starting the moment manufacturing was complete. Here they are being handed over by âŠ@CMOKeralaâ© & âŠ@rohithsuresh_89â© of my team to Collector pic.twitter.com/XUbRixKh7gâ Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) April 3, 2020
âWe asked for 3,000 testing sample kits. We received 1,000 testing samples today (Friday) in our first batch, and in our second batch, 2,000 testing samples will be dispatched on Sunday,â said the Thiruvananthapuram MP.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan received the first kit from Thiruvananthapuram Collector K Gopalakrishnan on Friday.
These kits will facilitate Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing. According to a release from the Chief Ministerâs office, the results will be available in 2 and half hours. Currently, it takes six to seven hours to get the results.
The 3,000 testing sample kits cost Rs 57 lakh. The costs included GST (goods and service tax), insurance, freight charges and miscellaneous expenses.
âSince we were able to arrange a Spice Jet express cargo flight and it did not have to be sent on a private jet (which the vendor had budgeted for due to the absence of scheduled flights in India), he is returning Rs 3.2 lakh, which will be credited to our MPLADS account with the District Collector,â said Shashi Tharoor.
âAs soon as the manufacturing of the first 1,000 (kits) was completed, the consignment loaded with Dry Ice was delivered by Mylab from Pune to Mumbai via road transport and from Mumbai to Calicut via SpiceJet Express through an intervention from Captain Anand MohanRaj of the All-India Professionals' Congress. The consignment was then transported to Thiruvananthapuram overnight via road with Inter-District Coordination from all district collectors,â Shashi Tharoor said.
First Covid 19 Rapid Testing kits for Kerala state is Enroute Trivandrum. Hats off @ShashiTharoor MP for all your efforts. Proud to be in his coordination team to make this happen. MP team will hand over the kits to District collector, Trivandrum Tomorrow. #COVID19 #rapidtest pic.twitter.com/lZcjdUG0oMâ Anand Mohan Rajan (@AnandMohanRajan) April 2, 2020