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Chandigarh, Apr 25 () A private laboratory which has been under the Haryana government’s scanner for alleged discrepancies in COVID-19 test results on Saturday asserted that it stands by its findings and is open to getting these samples re-tested at any government lab.

The Haryana government had on Monday ordered a probe after four samples reported positive for coronavirus by SRL Diagnostics tested negative in confirmation tests done at different government labs in the state.

The state government will give no samples for testing to the private lab, pending the outcome of the probe, Health Minister Anil Vij had said.

Gurgaon-based SRL Diagnostics on Saturday said it re-tested the samples, which were first tested on April 18, and the results again came back positive for coronavirus.

It said it conducted a re-test “using the RNA extracts from the same samples which are stored with the lab under the recommended guidelines by ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research).”

“The test results are out and once again read positive,” said Dr. Anurag Bansal, technical head for north and east India and lab operations director for Gurgaon Clinical Reference Laboratory, SRL Ltd.

Bansal and Arindam Haldar, Chief Executive Officer of SRL Ltd., addressed the media through a video conference.

“We would like to reiterate our testing lab in Gurgaon is ICMR-approved and is also NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories) accredited…. and is run by highly professional, qualified and experienced doctors. With reference to COVID-19 testing, we are only using ICMR-approved kits and testing technique – RT PCR,” Haldar said.

Bansal said it is critical to understand that there are multiple reasons which can influence a test result.

“When we got the notice from them (health department) stating that there is (a) discrepancy in these four results, we again ran these tests and again these came positive,” Bansal said.

Asked why the four people tested negative in confirmation tests carried out by Haryana health authorities, he said the virus keeps shedding its virulence and maybe when they (SRL Diagnostics) took the samples virus shedding was not taking place in the patients’ bodies.

Bansal said he had explained in detail the entire process and protocols followed in conducting COVID-19 tests to the four-member team, including a microbiologist and a biochemist, of the health department that had visited their lab.

“I told them they can take our sample and get it tested again from any government lab. We stand (by the fact) that our test is positive,” he said.

He said though the state government has stopped sending samples to them for the time being, they are getting samples from other hospitals.

Asked about SRL Diagnostics’ stand, Health Minister Vij said a probe is underway and one would have to wait for its outcome.

“We got these four samples tested at different government labs in the state and they came negative. The patients have been discharged from hospitals,” he said.

To a question that the virus may have shed its virulence by the time the samples were taken by the health department authorities, Vij said, “As soon as these four patients were tested positive for coronavirus by SRL Laboratory, we sent their samples for testing to labs for confirmation.

“After their reports came back negative, we got them tested again for a second confirmation. The results came negative again and then we decided to discharge the patients,” he said.

The four samples in question include those of an auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM), who worked in a containment zone in Ambala, and three members of a family from Sahjadpur village near Ambala city. SUN VSD DIVDIV



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