She delivered India’s first COVID-19 test kit, and then her child

Minal Dakhave Bhosale delivered the kit in record six-week time, just a day before she gave birth

Minal Dakhave Bhosale
Minal Dakhave Bhosale was guiding a team of 10 persons who were working on the project at Mylab Discovery | Photo: Facebook

Virologist Minal Dakhave Bhosale was in the last stage of pregnancy and even had complications when she was working on India’s first COVID-19 testing kit. Her efforts paid off as her team delivered the kit in a record time of six weeks, just a day before she gave birth to a baby girl.

Bhosale was guiding a team of 10 persons who were working on the project at Mylab Discovery in Pune. The test kit her team created will not only reduce the time taken for delivering the result but is also comparatively affordable.

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She gave birth to a baby girl just only a day before submitting the kit to the authorities for evaluation. “It was like giving birth to two babies,” Bhosale told news agency PTI over the phone.

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The virologist said both the journeys – that happened in parallel – were not without challenges. “There were complications in the pregnancy while work on the test kit was on. The baby was delivered through cesarean,” she said.

Bhosale said she felt that it was the right time to serve the people to help them in combating the coronavirus threat. “I had been working for five years in this field and if I don’t work in emergency situations when my services are needed the most, then what is the use?” she said.

Though Bhosale was not able to visit the office due to the pregnancy, she was guiding the team who were working on the project. The strong bonds forged with the team over the years and their support made it possible, she said.

Company’s co-founder Shrikant Patole said just like drug discovery, test kits too go through a lot of quality checks to improve the precision. He credited Bhosale for the success of the project.

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The COVID-19 testing kit delivered by Bhosale’s team will reduce the time taken for delivering a result to 2.5 hours from the prevalent practice of eight hours.

A pioneering approach to testing without compromising on the results was adopted, Bhosale said. “I’m happy that I could do something for the country,” Bhosale said.

The Maylab test kit will cost ₹1,200, a quarter of ₹4,500 per kit that the government has been spending on testing so far. As of Friday, only 27,000 of the 130 crore population were tested for the virus in the country.

According to experts, high scale testing is essential because it alone can ensure an early diagnosis of COVID-19 and lower down the fatalities.

The company is confident of ramping up the capacity at its plant in Lonavala to deliver one lakh kits a week, Patole said. He said the authorities are helping the company, including giving priority for shipping of the raw materials.

(With inputs from agencies)

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