The BIRAC (Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council) has gifted the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras a mobile diagnostic facility for COVID-19 that can travel to difficult-to-access areas and conduct tests.
Parakh, as the unit has been named, is housed in a van. The mobile unit can travel to remote areas, collect samples, process and analyse them.
BIRAC has funded the mobile diagnostic facility while the chassis of the van has been donated by German truck manufacturer Daimler India Commercial Vehicle, makers of Bharat Benz range of trucks and the lab testing equipment was provided by Microflow Devices India Pvt Ltd.
Tamil Nadu health minister Ma Subramanian, health department principal secretary J Radhakrishnan and IIT Madras director V. Kamakoti inspected the facility on the IIT Madras campus.
"I am happy to review this mobile diagnostic facility gifted to IIT Madras by BIRAC (Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council) at Rs 50 lakh. This lab would benefit everyone and will be operated by a large technical team," Subramanian said.
Guhan Jayaraman, the head of the biotechnology department at IIT Madras, said the diagnostic facility can be deployed for surveillance of any infectious diseases such as dengue, tuberculosis and other kinds of viral outbreaks.
The facility can conduct testing and analysis in real time and connect with hospitals and health centres in urban areas. The data can be accessed by health officials for rapid response.
The minister also inaugurated a vaccination camp at IIT Madras campus. "This vaccination camp will benefit the faculty and staff of the institute, along with residents of the area,” he said.
IIT Madras director V. Kamakoti said the vaccination camp would ensure that the message reaches the public and encourages them to take the vaccine, especially the youngsters less than 18 years and those who are more than 60 years for their booster doses.
"IIT Madras is committed to these camps and the public is invited to take part in these camps,” he said.