The Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread across the country. An effective way to curtail the spread of the virus is to conduct tests on a timely basis so that the infected patients can be identified at an early stage, enabling their treatment. More importantly, an early detection can help prevent these individuals from inadvertently infecting others.
Indian Institute for Science Education and Research, Pune (IISER) has been at the forefront of scientific research, having been declared as an institute of national importance by an Act of Parliament. Given the current scenario, IISER set up a testing centre within its Pune campus on May 21, 2020 to conduct COVID-19 tests. As of August 15, 2020, it had tested close to 15,000 samples arriving from hospitals in and around Pune.
However, as the pandemic spread, the existing infrastructure for IISER became inadequate to meet the demand for testing. Its existing machines had a limited output, allowing only 300 tests to be conducted per day. To address the issue, the institute required the new age RT-PCR (Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction) machines. The challenge was that these machines were expensive, making funding imperative.
ICICI Lombard, one of India’s leading non-life insurance companies, has come forward to fund the procurement of RT-PCR machines for IISER, Pune. It has contributed Rs. 20 lakh as part of the initiative. IISER’s testing capacity will rise significantly to 1,000 tests per day, with the new equipment. ICICI Lombard’s financial support for the RT-PCR machines at IISER’s COVID-19 testing centre comes at an opportune moment and is an important contribution to fight COVID-19.
Prof. Sanjeev Galande, Dean (R&D) at IISER Pune welcomed this support and said, “The contribution by ICICI Lombard is instrumental in increasing the throughput and reducing the turnaround time at our COVID-19 Testing Centre. We, at IISER Pune, are committed to contribute towards the country’s effort in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. This is being done in two ways, first, by providing testing services and secondly by using our expertise towards COVID-19 specific research projects.”
Bhargav Dasgupta, MD & CEO, ICICI Lombard General Insurance said, “At ICICI Lombard, we have always played a proactive role in contributing towards the well-being of the community. As part of our CSR agenda, we have been taking various initiatives towards the curtailment of Covid-19. When we came across the requirement of IISER, Pune pertaining to the procurement of RT-PCR machines, we thought it imperative to come forward, given the criticality of the equipment to conduct timely tests and thereby curtail the pandemic. The testing apparatus can detect multiple viruses including Covid-19, adding to their versatility. We are thankful to IISER for giving us the opportunity to contribute to an important cause.”