In the fight against COVID-19, increased testing is a crucial requirement in addition to physical distancing and lockdown measures. Towards the end of March 2020, a test centre for COVID-19 became functional at the Centre for Infectious Diseases Research (CIDR) at IISc. It was set up within a short span of two to three weeks with support from the Institute and the Government of Karnataka.
As of 30 June 2020, the centre has tested 9,000 samples for the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. IISc already has a Bio Safety Level-3
(BSL-3) facility with labs where there is active research ongoing on infectious diseases such as TB and HIV. These facilities are required for handling infectious agents that can be transmitted through the respiratory route.
Personnel who work at the COVID-19 test centre undergo training for two weeks in the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) specific to working with SARS-CoV-2 samples. The tests use RT-PCR kits developed by different companies that have been approved by the Indian Council for Medical Research.
Faculty members Shashank Tripathi (CIDR), Amit Singh (Microbiology and Cell Biology) and Deepak Saini (Molecular Reproduction, Development and Genetics) are involved in managing the test centre along with several dedicated research staff members.