Gonoshasthaya Kendra wants interim approval to conduct tests for the novel coronavirus using the kits it has developed – until the government provides its final performance study certificate.
Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, founder of the charitable trust, requested this yesterday at a press conference in its Dhanmondi office.
"I would like to place an appeal to the government: please at least give us a provisional certificate until the performance study reports are issued to us," he added.
He urged the government to take combined initiatives to combat the virus.
Gonoshasthaya Kendra expected it would receive a clearance certificate from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) on Monday.
However, BSMMU did not take the kits from the charitable trust.
Dr Zafrullah held the press conference to share the update with people and make a new appeal to the government.
"On behalf of Gonoshasthaya Kendra, I want to apologise to our countrymen for our failure to gain the government's approval," he said during the conference.
"It is our misfortune and failure that we were not able to get the approval from BSMMU, which is responsible for determining the effectiveness of testing kits," he added.
He said many countries – including India, China and South Korea – have already started using this type of kits. "However, as we are the first country in the world to develop these particular kits, we are still waiting for approval."
On March 17, Gonoshasthaya-RNA Biotech, a sister concern of Gonoshasthaya, declared that, with the help of experts from Singapore, it had developed a method named Gonoshasthaya Rapid Dot Blot.
Gonoshasthaya Kendra's testing kit can examine samples to detect Covid-19 within 15 minutes.
"We have kits and are confident about their effectiveness, plus the committee is also ready to conduct the test, but the top officials at BSMMU have not approved the process yet," he stated.
"We have come to know that the approval letter is at the office of the BSMMU vice-chancellor," he said.
"In this crisis period of the country, we can help a little so I do not know why they are not expediting the process," Dr Zafrullah added.
"Maybe we cannot change the situation completely, but we could mentally satisfy people by determining their condition," he added.
No reaction was provided by BSMMU authorities, on the issue, when contacted.
Earlier, the Directorate General of Drug Administration gave Gonoshasthaya the permission to get its Covid-19 rapid testing kits checked by either BSMMU or the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research.
On May 2, BSMMU formed a six-member committee to conduct a performance study of the Covid-19 rapid testing kits.
At the press conference, Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury also asked the people to give them a space of 5,000sf in Dhanmondi so that they can build a 100-bed facility to treat Covid-19 patients.