UP stares at acute shortage of Covid-19 testing reagent | Lucknow News – Times of India

LUCKNOW: An acute shortage of Viral Transport Medium, a reagent used for Covid-19 testing, has hit Uttar Pradesh.
As per records available at state health and family welfare department, about three lakh units of VTM are left with the divisional warehouses of the UP Medical Supplies Corporation (a subsidiary of the state health department) on Thursday morning. In UP, on an average 60,000 samples of Covid-19 are tested every day. The number of tests go up to 1.25 lakh at times. Under such circumstances, a stock of about three lakh units is not likely to survive for more than 4-5 days.
It may be noted that VTM is basically a chemical liquid in which the swab sample is placed and taken for testing. In its absence, both antigen and RT PCR tests cannot be conducted as the sample would get contaminated the moment it is exposed to air. In fact, the transportation of the sample is also impossible without VTM. As per records, the VTM stock is zero in Aligarh, Ayodhya and Prayagraj divisions while it is less than 1,000 units in Kanpur and Agra divisions.
In Gorakhpur and Meerut, the stock is under 2,000 units while in Varanasi division which is witnessing high footfall of tourists and pilgrims, the stock is about 8,000 units.
In Lucknow division, the warehouse has 24,000 units which is to be divided in six districts. The maximum stock is with Saharanpur (56,800) and Azamgarh (50,000) divisions. As a result, a crisis stares at the face of the UP government which has been lauded for its Covid-19 management by various national and global agencies.
“Internal data indicates that the corporation has over 50 lakh units of RT PCR testing kits. When the reagent is a must for testing, it should be treated like a pair and matched regularly as the kits otherwise would serve no purpose,” said a health officer.
“Three months ago, the corporation did float a tender for procurement of VTM, but the process could not follow its timelines and was eventually cancelled a fortnight ago,” he alleged.