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AIIMS brings innovative tools to save patients with SARI

Nagpur:- The All India Medical Sciences Institute (AIIMS), Nagpur, has procured the Biofire FilmArray Torch, a state-of-the-art multiplex assay that detects 22 respiratory pathogens responsible for causing severe acute respiratory disease (SARI).

Around 30% of cases with SARI were reported in the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently this equipment is available in the entire state only at AIIMS, Nagpur. Dr Meena Mishra, professor and head of the AIIMS department of microbiology, told that the new addition could be a life-saver for patients with SARI testing Covid-19 negative.

“Some SARI patients are testing Covid-19 negative, but they are still dying as they do not respond to the standard protocol provided medicines or antibiotics. This device can detect 22 respiratory pathogens, including viruses and bacteria. It also detects whether the bacteria which caused SARI have established antibiotic resistance.

In short, doctors could prescribe the right medicines for the SARI patient, and save his life, “she said.
Also pathogens responsible for SARI in Vidarbha and Maharashtra will be detected over the long term through this device. This will help physicians understand the prevalence of bacteria and viruses in this geographic area and determine the treatment line for patients.

“We are grateful to Nagpur Divisional Commissioner Dr. Sanjeev Kumar and Amravati Divisional Commissar Piyush Singh. Both contributed to this equipment from the Vidarbha Covid-19 Relief Fund, “said AIIMS Director, Nagpur, Maj Gen Dr Vibha Dutta, who was instrumental in procurement of the equipment.

The test sample for BioFire assay is a Nasopharyngeal swab collected in VTM (Viral Transport Media) that is the same as the test sample collected for Covid-19 testing, and reports may be available in less than an hour.
Dr. Sanjay Mukherjee, Secretary of Medical Education, and Dr. T P Lahane, Director, DMER, agreed to work with AIIMS, Nagpur to test cases of SARI.

“This collaborative work will be a boon for the Vidarbha and Maharashtra people and a ray of hope in the diagnostic arena,” Dr Dutta said. AIIMS’s microbiology department, Nagpur, is already doing Covid-19 research, and more than 12,000 samples had been tested to date. As part of mentoring, the department also imparted Covid-19 research instruction to about 25 institutes.

“With the new addition, we are ready to venture into respiratory panel testing for SARI cases, ” said Dr Mishra.

  • SARI is an acute respiratory infection with fever and cough history
  • Most SARI patients require hospitalization and respiratory support
  • Key concern for Maharashtra is the increase in SARI deaths
  • System helps to diagnose an aetiologic agent for SARI
  • Lives can be saved with different therapies for aetiologic agents
  • In the long run, system can provide data on SARI-responsible bacteria and viruses

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