February 3, 2023
Dr Shivali Ahlawat, Lab Head- National Reference Lab, Gurugram, Head- East & South Regional Labs, Oncquest Laboratories Ltd

Oncquest’s quest to combat 4th wave of COVID pandemic

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New Delhi, June 2022: With the COVID-19 cases registering a fresh spike in India, concerns over the outbreak of a fourth wave of the pandemic have been on discussion among several medical experts. The increasing number of cases in several states of India like Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh has been indicative towards the threat of a fresh wave of the novel coronavirus.

While most medical assistance providers are re-gearing themselves up to prepare for a probable fourth wave, Oncquest has an established setup to perform multiple tests on similar platforms and has been performing COVID testing from the very initiation of the pandemic. Oncquest has a National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accredited molecular laboratory at Delhi NCR. Apart From National Referral Lab GGN, Oncquest has NABL accredited COVID molecular facilities in South Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore. These labs can individually test 2000 to 2500 samples daily. The organization is soon coming up with a similar setup in Ludhiana as well.

“Having equipment, manpower and infrastructure well in place, Oncquest has developed an automated extraction system to cater to the diagnosis of higher numbers of COVID suspects. The Lab is equipped with enough RT PCR machines to perform 5500-6000 COVID samples per day. Oncquest has Biorad and Thermo 384 RT PCR systems and Himedia and Bio Rad 96 RT PCR systems as well for high throughput,” Dr. Vinay Bhatia – Head Molecular Biology & Genomics, Oncquest Laboratories Ltd.

Apart from the RT PCR test, there is ID NOW COVID-19 assay for use at the Point of Care (POC). This assay, which is performed on the ID NOW instrument, is rapid and takes 13 minutes or less to target the coronavirus (COVID-19) RdRp Gene. It utilizes an isothermal nucleic acid amplification technology from nasal, nasopharyngeal and throat swabs for the qualitative detection of nucleic acid from individuals who are suspected of COVID-19. The timely results enable medical professionals to make appropriate and more efficient treatment with apt infection control decisions.

Though the number of samples is increasing by the day, the positivity rate is also increasing gradually, with Oncquest’s present positivity rate at 15 to 18 per cent. Following the second wave of the pandemic, Oncquest has increased its manpower to handle the additional workload. All employees at the laboratories are fully vaccinated and take precautionary measures to comply with the mandated SOPs to contain the spread of the virus. The laboratories are also regularly fumigated and instructions relating COVID appropriate behavior are being displayed 24*7,” said Dr. Shivali Ahlawat – Lab Director, Oncquest Laboratories Ltd.

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