Surkhet’s Covid-19 test lab starts sending samples to Kathmandu as machine malfunctionsAs the machine started malfunctioning, the lab on Tuesday sent 15 samples of throat swabs to Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital in Teku, Kathmandu.
The coronavirus test lab at Karnali Provincial Hospital in Surkhet has started sending throat swabs to Kathmandu for Covid-19 test due to the malfunction in the province’s only testing machine.
According to Om Acharya, the lab’s focal person, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine, which started testing from last Thursday, malfunctioned as the lab technicians have been compelled to run a high number of tests.
“We have been working hard but the machine is not helping,” Acharya said. “We haven’t been able to test as many samples as we have aimed to.”
The lab on Tuesday sent 15 throat swab samples to Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital in Teku, Kathmandu, due to machine failure.
The PCR machine at the provincial hospital could test 12 samples per day. In the last couple of days, the lab had tested 60 samples. All the results were negative for the coronavirus infection.
The machine was set up with the fund provided by the federal government to test all the samples collected throughout the province.
A ten-member staff, led by microbiologist Ram Krishna Shrestha, are working on the test.
Six of them are based in the lab while four others have been deployed to monitor the collection of swab samples.
Acharya said coronavirus testing in the province was not progressing at desired pace even though the health workers and lab technicians were working hard.
“We have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of swab samples we have been getting daily. If the situation persists and the machine is not fixed, we will have no option than to send the samples to Kathmandu for tests,” he said.