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COVID-19 testing lab in Nagaland gets ICMR approval

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Officials said the lab is yet to begin testing due to the unavailability of reagents

The first COVID-19 testing lab in Nagaland has received the approval of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), an official said.

Samples from the state are at present being sent to Assam and Manipur for testing. However, Nagaland has not reported any COVID-19 case till date.

Approval received (for BSL-3) from ICMR based on validation of documentation and quality control test run, state Health Secretary Kesonyu Yhome told reporters.

The state government started the process for setting up the lab at Naga Hospital Authority Kohima (NHAK) on April 17, while all protocols were completed on May 12 and documents for validation were sent to the ICMR on the same day, officials said.

A petition was filed at the Kohima bench of the Gauhati High Court over no COVID-19 testing lab in the state, following which the court had framed timelines for setting up such labs.

So far, 891 samples were sent for testing, out of which reports of 873 came back as negative, while results of the rest are awaited.

Officials said the lab is yet to begin testing due to the unavailability of reagents, an essential substance or a compound.

Testing of samples for COVID-19 can begin as soon as reagents are supplied by ICMR, Yhome said.

ICMR has not given any tentative date, he said, expressing hope that it would not be long.

Yhome also informed that civil works to set up the BSL-2 (Biosafety Lab) at the Christian Institute of Health Sciences in Dimapur are also in progress. 

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