AIIMS stops collecting samples for TB tests as key chemical runs out

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New Delhi–India’s premier health institute, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, here has stopped collecting samples for TB tests at its DOT Centre in absence of chemical reagents.

The cartridge-based nucleic acid amplification test (CBNAAT), which diagnoses TB and rifampicin resistance within 2 hours, is not available at the DOT centre for the last one and half months now.

An official communication said that the First Line LPA, MGIT culture and DST services at the Intermediate Reference Laboratory (IRL) have been temporarily suspended with immediate effect, and will resume as the chemical regents becme available.

A lab staffer, on the condition of anonymity, said that several tests for tuberculosis has been shut at the centre from last one month and an average of 70 to 80 patients on daily basis return empty-handed. The CBNATT test has been closed for one month now and other tests for TB like LPA culture test and DST also have also been closed in absence of chemical reagent cartridge, he added.

The chemical cartridge is being supplied under the national tuberculosis programme to all DOTS centres.

Apart from AIIMS, the IRL lab, under the Department of Medicine, gets the sample from four other centres – Nehru Nagar, Deen Dayal, Moti Nagar and NDMC Chest polyclinic – for testing. The DOTS centre has now stopped collecting samples from patients as the lab technicians are unable to test in absence of chemical reagents.

One lab staffer said that apart from the chemicals’ unavailability, there is also shortage of staff with the IRL having two microbiologists and one technician only.

Meanwhile, TB continues to be India’s severest health crisis. (IANS)



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