India Fights Covid -19: Virologist Minal Dakhave Bhosale Delivers The Covid Test Kit First, Then Her Baby

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Minal Dakhave Bhosale has emerged as a bearer of good news with her success in getting her test kit for Covid-19 approved a day before she gave birth to her daughter, BBC reported. The testing kit costs a mere Rs 1200, offers results in 2.5-3 hours and can test up to 100 samples at a time which increases our testing capabilities immensely. Currently, India has been importing at the cost of Rs 4500 per kit from abroad

As India fights Covid-19, things were never as serious as the past week with the Prime Minister Mr Modi declaring a nationwide lockdown. While India has been lauded for sealing the borders and taking precautionary measures, somewhere along the way, there is a feeling that India has not been testing enough. India has so far only conducted 32,000 tests so far. Factly reported and our average testing rate is 6.8 per million is far lower than other other countries. South Korea which was successful in arresting the spread of COVID-19 had conducted over 3,94,141 tests as on 29th March 2020.

The 21 day lockdown period is the time that we are buying to prepare ourselves for more critical cases which are expected to come and to arrest the spread of the virus. Though the government’s efforts have been lauded in imposing a lockdown, unexpected panic and reaction by the poor people of our country made things difficult. Panic-stricken migrant labourers who are incredibly vulnerable have started going back to their villages, walking for hundreds of kilometres with kids and meagre or no food to eat. 

Testing remains our biggest hope to identify and arrest the spread.To that extent, Ms Minal Dhakave Bhosale, a virologist working in Mylab in Pune has given us a realistic shot by making an accurate and affordable testing kit to test the presence of virus causing Covid-19.

Ms Minale, the head of Research and Development at Mylabs, started working on it in a very short time in February 2020 after returning from hospital due to complications in her pregnancy. She assembled a team named, MylabPatho Detect Covid-19 Qualitative PCR kit which worked day and night to develop a test kit in a mere 3.5 weeks time. She submitted the proposal to National Institute of Virology(NIV) on 18th March and the very same day to FDA and the drugs control authority CDSCO for approval and commercial licence just hours before giving birth to her daughter. ICMR(Indian Council for Medical Research) said that Mylab, a molecular biology lab is the only lab in India to get 100% accuracy in their results. 

Ms Bhosale said that they have been able to achieve fast and accurate results due to their unique expertise of development processes and FAST mode acting reagents. She said that “ The nation was in an emergency, and thus I took it as a challenge and achieved it.”

Covid-19: Efforts For Good is running a fundraising campaign to help daily wagers to cope up with the lockdown. We seek you support to help the daily wagers. Donate generously here

Mr Gautam Wankhede, the director of mylabs, said that the first shipment of test kits was already delivered and that they can produce and supply up to 1,00,000 test kits a week and can even ramp it up to 2,00,000 per week if required, NDTV reported.

Initially, in our country, it was decided that only Indians returning from foreign travels would be tested. Still, slowly it was expanded to those showing symptoms and believed to be in close contact with people who had returned from abroad. While ICMR has still not put India in the community transmission stage, the production and supply of an indigenous testing kit could not have come at a better time for India as she fights the COVID-19 illness. With the testing now having been expanded to the private sector and increasing availability of testing kits such as the ones that Mylab has produced we can ramp up the testing and overcome the COVID-19 illness. 

We in India have fought diseases such as Smallpox and surprised the world. It is the effort by people like Ms Minale which gives us necessary tools in our fight against COVID-19 and with social distancing and adequate testing we will surprise the world by defeating COVID-19 from our country as well. 

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

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With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.

Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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