Syngene International, a research and development services company in the pharma and biotechnology space, has opened a COVID-19 testing laboratory at its Bengaluru site. In less than six weeks, the company used its expertise in clinical trial management, human clinical sample testing procedures, molecular biology and viral testing to gain the additional approvals, including ICMR approval, necessary to open the facility to support hospitals in the city, the company said on Monday.
“As India battles the COVID-19 pandemic, we are proud to contribute our scientific expertise and resources in supporting the nation in this hour of need,” said Dr Mahesh Bhalgat, chief operating officer, Syngene International.
“Our COVID-19 testing laboratory, using RT-PCR technology, will work with local hospitals to expand the testing capacity in Bengaluru and help reduce the spread of the virus in the community. The laboratory will be scaling up to operate round-the-clock sample processing and all tests will be offered free of charge,” he added.
Syngene has repurposed one of its laboratories to conduct the RT-PCR tests. A team of scientists has been trained to perform these tests as per the guidelines prescribed by national and global regulatory authorities. Necessary processes have been established for safe handling of the samples and testing kits have been sourced and validated.
With the broad range of scientific expertise in relevant disciplines that Syngene offers, it is also working to supply reagents, primers and probes for COVID-19 diagnostic testing to clients, as well as working on research projects related to vaccine development which could represent a longer-term solution for fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
RT-PCR or Real Time PCR is an advanced technology which is used to detect the expression level of the relevant RNA fragment. It monitors the amplification of a targeted oligonucleotide sequence in real-time and uses fluorescent dyes to detect the presence of the virus. At present, there are 277 government laboratories approved and supported by the ICMR and 16 private labs for testing Coronavirus including 6 in Bangalore.