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Covid setup at Gandhi Hospital can be used to test for monkeypox

HYDERABAD: Telangana is ready to conduct monkeypox testing at Gandhi Hospital and give accurate reports independently in case of an outbreak.“The diagnostic centre at the hospital will be able to release the test results as well, once the National Institute of Virology (NIV) allows us to do so,” said Prof Dr K Nagamani, Head of the Department of Microbiology, Gandhi Hospital, on Tuesday.

Health Minister T Harish Rao had earlier directed that a special centre be set up at the Gandhi Hospital to test samples of suspected monkeypox cases in the State.However, samples of the two suspected monkeypox cases had been sent to NIV in Pune.

As the cases are increasing in the country, the State needs its own diagnosis centre to access the results easily and as early as possible. Telangana already has such a diagnostic centre in Gandhi Hospital.

“The setup established at the time of Covid-19 pandemic can be used to conduct the monkeypox samples as well,” Dr Nagamani said.

“As of now, only the NIV, Pune is testing samples of suspected monkeypox cases. Once we get the nod, we can also start testing samples,” she clarified, adding that the staff has been well trained to collect samples from suspected monkeypox patients. Reagents and kits for tests are also available at the hospital, Dr Nagamani added.

Currently, there are 15 Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) trained research and diagnostic laboratories in the country that conduct the tests and issue results. The Centre is planning to convert some more laboratories across the country as monkeypox testing labs.