Govt permits Gonoshasthaya to import virus testing materials

“Easy, effective and cheap” method different from kit
Dhaka, March 20 – The Gonoshasthaya Kendra on Thursday got approval from the authorities concerned to import necessary raw materials for their “easy, effective and cheap” method to test for the novel coronavirus ravaging healthcare systems around the world, or Covid-19. Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, the founder of the Gonoshasthaya Kendra, said “the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) approved importing raw materials for the method around 1 pm. We have immediately placed an order to import the ingredients from the UK.”
The first slot of the raw materials is likely to reach the country by next Thursday, he said, expressing optimism that they would be able to make the method available for mass people within a month.
As the raw materials are being imported in the public interest, he urged the authorities concerned to take necessary steps for exemption from all import taxes.
Gonoshasthaya-RNA Biotech Limited, a sister concern of Gonoshasthaya, with the help of experts from Singapore developed the method named ‘Gonoshasthaya Rapid Dot Blot.’
Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder claimed that the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that they would adopt the system.
“We developed a method, not a kit. The kit is very expensive and time-consuming system,” Zafrullah explained.
He said the new method would take only take 5-10 minutes to test for the coronavirus and cost about Tk 200-250. “It’s almost similar to testing blood groups and will allow doctors to conduct tests at their chambers,” Zafrullah said.
Bangladesh confirmed its first Covid-19 cases on March 8. So far, 14 people have been affected. The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) on Wednesday confirmed the first death from coronavirus in Bangladesh.
Asked whether they used their method, he said they tested some people in the country but found all of them negative. “We used the method abroad and found positive cases.”
The noted physician also claimed that their method is “cent percent reliable”, saying: “CDC has already reviewed our method and confirmed about adopting it.”
He said the government needs to fix the price of their method in consultation with them so that no one can charge extra money from people when it is available in the market.
Zafrullah said the country will not face any crisis of the shortage of Covid-19 testing kits as their method will be available in the market soon. – UNB