Mylabs, Serum Institute launch automated Covid test, claim can conduct 32 tests/hr

Serum Institute of India said the automated Covid-19 testing machine can conduct 32 tests per hour and minimises human contact.

Mylabs, Serum Institute launch automated Covid test, claim can conduct 32 tests/hr

Mylabs Solutions and Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) today launched a test kit to detect Covid-19 and claimed its test kit minimises human interaction and reduces time because it is automated.

Launching the test kit, an Automated Molecular Covid Test Machine, SII CEO Adar Poonawalla said increasing testing rate in India is the "need of the hour".

The test kit has been developed by Serum Institute of India and Mylab Discovery Solutions. It is an automated machine and its manufacturers claim that it eliminates the infrastructure and capital requirement needed to set up a molecular lab.

Speaking about the test kit, Adar Poonawalla said it is an automated Covid-19 testing machine that can conduct 32 tests per hour. Besides Covid-19, this machine is capable of carrying out tests for other ailments as well, he said.

Adar Poonawalla said private labs would be paying Rs 1,000 for every test conducted using this machine, and for public the price would be around Rs 2,500 per test.

Hasmukh Rawal, director Mylabs Solutions, said at present there are two variants of this testing machine. The bigger machine costs Rs 40 lakh and the smaller one (having the capacity to test eight samples per hour) is relatively cheaper.

Debashri Dey, marketing head of Mylab Solutions, said there is no need to seek ICMR's permission to make Covid-19 testing automated from the manual process because the testing remains the same. "It's just that the manual testing is now automated testing which reduced human contact."

The manufacturers said at present there is a backlog of more than two to three days in testing swabs for Covid-19 in Mumbai and Pune. "This machine can ease out this backlog as it can test 32 tests in an hour," Poonawala said.

Asked about the progress in Covid-19 vaccine development by Serum Institute of India, Poonawalla said they will talk about it only when the vaccine is in Phase 3 trials.

"We don't want to take any step in a haste," he said, adding that a vaccine is at least six months away from today.