Pune gets first Drive-up Covid testing facility

WITH an aim to make COVID-19 testing simpler and more accessible to the residents of Pune, GenePath Diagnostics (GPDX), a Pune based next-generation diagnostics company that operates a state-of-the-art laboratory and R&D facility, has set up the first COVID-19 drive-up collection centre in the city.

Patients can drive up, ride up or walk up to the collection centre at Safire Park Galleria in Wakdewadi, have their swab taken, and then download their test results in less than 24 hours from GenePath DX’s online report portal. Appointments for the test can be booked between Monday and Friday from 9 am to 6 pm and on Saturday from 9 am to 12 pm by calling +91 20 48566661.

Founded by Dr Nikhil Phadke in 2008, GenePath Diagnostics offers both an RT-PCR test and a rapid antigen test for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA from respiratory samples using ICMR approved test kits. It also offers Covid-19 antibody tests. GenePath has already tested almost 15,000 patient samples in their lab in the last four months. It is the only organisation in the country which has government approval for Covid-19 testing as well as Covid-19 testing kit manufacturing.

Dr Nickhil Jakatdar, CEO of GenePath Diagnostics, said, “In India, many people don’t get tested mainly because of the fear of how they will be treated and the hurdles they have to go through while getting tested. The main reason to start this drive-up centre was to streamline the whole testing process for COVID 19 and to make it simpler and more accessible for patients, especially those who may be asymptomatic.”

Patients need only bring their Aadhar card or other Government-issued photo ID and Rs. 2,200 to pay for the test. After the swabs are collected the test has been run at the state-of-the-art laboratory, which has been authorised by the Government of India – ICMR (Indian Council for Medical Research) and the NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories), the results can be downloaded from an online portal. From end-to-end, this process takes less than 24 hours.

“For COVID 19, different types of tests are carried out which include RT-PCR, antigen and antibody tests. These tests have their pros and cons, and we at GenePath do all three, including a world-class RT-PCR test, which is more accurate and gives out proper results. Patients should get tested at a lab which is reputable and uses a good quality test kit” said Dr Jakatdar.

He added that if the drive-up collection is successful then the concept will be extended to other parts of Pune and perhaps even outside the city as well.

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