This would be particularly useful in the districts, including the ones that have been recording a spike in cases in the recent weeks.
Pointing out that there were several machines available with educational and research institutions under various departments that are currently not being used in any critical area, a senior official from the Higher Education Department said the research institutions’ potential should be utilised to strengthen the fight against the pandemic.
Of the 13 State-owned universities in Tamil Nadu, 11 including Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS), University of Madras, Alagappa, Bharathidasan, Periyar, Bharathiar, Manonmaniam and Madurai Kamaraj universities have good research labs and could supply RT-PRC machines, he said.
“The institutions have agreed to provide RT-PCR machines that are available with them. It has been estimated that by temporarily deploying such machines in district hospitals and government laboratories, 5,000 and 10,000 additional tests per day can conducted across the State,” said the official.
After getting the details about the number of RT-PCR devices available with the institutions, the universities would be asked to facilitate their temporary deployment, in consultation with the department of health research, at district hospitals and government labs performing COVID 19 tests.
“In addition to RT-PCR equipment, the institutions have also been asked to provide other devices invented by the students or researchers that could be used for treating COVID-19 cases,” he added.
Health Ministry to document data on post-COVID complications
The Union Health Ministry has initiated an exercise to document data on post-COVID complications as part of which the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is likely to carry out a telephonic survey among recovered patients in the country using an existing database.
The ministry has drafted a format for gathering the information on post-COVID9 complications faced by patients from across states and union territories, sources said.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is concurrently working on developing a registry of post-COVID19 sequelae to capture data on the same. So far, a total of 35,42,663 people from coronavirus infection have recovered in the country, according to government data. Instances of patients facing post-COVID complications like respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological problems, immunological reactions among children and fibrosis in lungs have come to the fore within the country as well as abroad. “In view of the ongoing pandemic, it becomes essential to monitor and gather relevant data on post-COVID9 sequelae as the information collected will aid in planning the public health responses,” an official said. A committee of domain knowledge experts, known as joint monitoring group under the Health Ministry is currently working on a guidance note on possible complications that may afflict recovered patients. The guidance note would be issued to the states so that they can share it with the health facilities in their areas for patients getting discharged.
The draft format for gathering data on post-COVID sequelae includes providing information like age, occupation, co-morbidity status, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, when tests positive and date of discharge and would help in preparing the guidance note, sources said.
The assessment of post COVID sequelae symptoms includes respiratory manifestations like chronic cough, breathlessness, impaired renal function, cardiac injury, psychological issues, loss of taste and smell, weakness and poor endurance among others.
Experts from AIIMS recently have highlighted the need to have post-COVID clinics at all tertiary care hospitals where recovered patients facing health issues can be checked to understand the impact of coronavirus on various organs of the body.