Stepping up COVID-19 testing, the Microbiology Department of Government Medical College, Jammu achieved yet another milestone by carrying out more than 2143 tests in a day, through introduction of partial automation yesterday, 843 samples more than the daily average of 1300 samples per day during the past two months, thus accounting for an increase of about 39.33 percent.Testing of a substantial figure of 70,840 samples till date in the VRDL GMC Jammu has become possible only due to the strenuous efforts of clinical microbiologists, research scientists, laboratory technicians, para-medicos, and connected staff, who have been working upto 18 hours a day since the outbreak of the pandemic. Besides, more than 1,20,000 tests, including screening and confirmatory runs, have also been carried out by the same dedicated, limited task force, as the test is technically very demanding and needs expertise and all these endeavours by the team have been carried out with a missionary zeal.As per Dr. Shashi S. Sharma, the Head of Microbiology Department, GMC, Jammu, who is also Principal Investigator and Nodal Officer VRDL, ICMR and DHR, was assigned an additional responsibility of getting the Command Hospital Udhampur initiated into COVID 19 testing lab.
The Microbiology Department is in the process of training and building human resource for new medical colleges to decentralize the enormous work load on account of the COVID-19 testing, besides routine testing of Dengue, Swine Flu, Hepatitis and other such contagious and other emerging novel agents.The Microbiology Department is endeavouring hard to increase the number of testing keeping in view the emergent situation in the wake of pandemic with a sense of urgency. Calibrated steps are being taken up balancing the concerns of biosafety and quality with the lab participating in a mandatory external quality assurance/proficiency testing as per ICMR guidelines with NIV Pune, NCDC Delhi, AIIMS Delhi, PGIMER Chandigarh and SKIMS Soura.According to Dr. Shashi, "VRDL GMC Jammu is next only to SKIMS, Soura in testing, in the UT of J&K. SKIMS is our Referral VRDL Lab for the UT of Jammu & Kashmir with enormous state of the art infrastructure and resources.VRDL GMC Jammu has been successful in overcoming many of the initial infrastructural deficiencies, startup hiccups and related miscellaneous hardships in a very professional manner with collective approach of all stakeholders. With the ongoing upgradation of infrastructure and creation of an academic vibe and work culture, the Department of Microbiology, GMC, Jammu is now fully geared to meet the challenge posed by COVID 19 pandemic.