“Manpower and data entry is a challenge. Many times, the entire system has to be realigned if workers get infected,” she said.
The most important thing is uploading data on the website of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and sharing it with the state government which takes considerable time, Agarwal said.
However, she said, the laboratories are better prepared this time.
“We have enough equipment. Around 350 people are working in shifts round the clock,” Agarwal said.
In November, around 13,000 tests were conducted in a day, the highest so far. We expect to cross this number considering the surge this time, she said.
Dr Dangs lab is, at present, processing double the number of samples than in October and November, when Delhi witnessed the third wave of coronavirus, said CEO Dr Arjun Dang.
He acknowledged his laboratories were unable to serve everyone, as their “resources are not limitless”.
Dr Dang suggested that the government make data collection “automated” as a lot of human resources and time are lost in entering data manually on the ICMR portal.
“Ideally, an API (Application Programming Interface) should be provided that can pull all data from our software and give it to ICMR. But unfortunately, there is no automation till date, and dozens of people are entering data manually,” he said.
The government should be informed of reports on time for effective tracing and tracking, Dr Dang added.
He also stressed the need for “careful calibration” before increasing the testing capacity of laboratories.
There should not be any compromise on the turnaround time or the quality of the report.
“If the report is not going out in the stipulated time … if the reporting time is more than 48 hours, it doesn’t add any value to the patient’s condition and also to the people around,” Dang said.
At Dr Dangs Labs, around 100 people are engaged in collecting and processing samples and entering the data on the ICMR portal.
Dinesh Chauhan, CEO, CORE Diagnostics, said, “We have witnessed a sudden spike in the number of patients who are testing positive as we are running twice as many tests compared to the last quarter.”
“At present, we are reporting a large majority of our reports within 24 hours. Given our investment in automation, we have been able to streamline the data management and reporting process,” he said.
Core Diagnostics has noticed a large increase in the number of queries from the companies for Covid-19 testing for their employees.
The requirement of negative RT-PCR reports for interstate travel has led to a surge in requests from travellers. So, the demand is on the higher side, he said.