Gonoshasthaya Kendra on Saturday launched a Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) laboratory at the Gonoshasthaya Nagar Hospital in Dhaka, which will allow people to get tested for Covid-19 at a cheaper rate.
While other private healthcare facilities are charging at least Tk3,500 for Covid-19 tests, people can get tested at the lab for Tk3,000. A person with Gonoshasthaya Kendra health insurance will pay even less–Tk2,000-2,500 per test.
Former vice-chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Prof Dr Md Nazrul Islam inaugurated the ultramodern RT-PCR lab, set up recently by the organisation at its hospital in Dhanmondi.
Zafrullah Chowdhury, founder and trustee of Gonoshasthaya Kendra, told the media, "We will follow all the international standards and never compromise with quality, while test reports will be given on the same day as sample collection.
"Besides testing, other research will be conducted in the lab, and we have collected Tk50 lakh for this specific purpose," he added.
When asked to comment about the Covid-19 test scandal, Zafrullah said, "The government is responsible for the scandal. It happened because of their unwise decisions and refusal to take advice from the experts," he said.
"Bangladesh would have received acclaim from all over the world if it had allowed our antibody test," he said.
Speaking as the chief guest, renowned virologist Prof Nazrul said, "Testing people at a cheaper rate during this time of crisis is a good initiative. Technicians have to be careful during sample collection, because if it goes wrong, the test results can come out wrong too."
"Safety of the samples and correct results must be ensured. The tests should be conducted in the lab with utmost care so that workers are not exposed. Research should also be carried out in this laboratory, alongside with routine tests," he continued.
Attending the event, Microbiologist Dr Bijan Kumar Shill said, "In 2003, we developed the PCR technique for testing [another type of] coronavirus in Singapore. When that virus disappeared, all work on it stopped too."
However, when the virus returned in 2020, the PCR test became the only technique that could be used to diagnose Covid-19 infections.
Gonoshasthaya Kendra's Rapid Testing Kit researcher, and also head of Department of Microbiology at the Noakhali University of Science and Technology, Feroz Ahmed said, "We will conduct 200 tests every day. We will try our best to ensure supreme quality tests."
Anyone seeking to get tested for the novel coronavirus will have to visit the Gonoshasthaya Nagar Hospital and provide their sample by 11am. The RT-PCR laboratory was set up with overall support from the Gonoshasthaya RNA Biotech Ltd.