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First batch of Covid-19 test kits funded by Pepsico arrive at sites across India

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on May 05, 2020 Published on May 05, 2020

The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) on Tuesday announced the arrival of the first batch of Covid-19 testing kits supported by PepsiCo India.

The kits are being procured and distributed to various Government of India testing sites across the country with funding from PepsiCo India to help step up testing in the country.

The NGO is currently working with the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to support the national Covid-19 diagnostics response, and with the World Health Organisation (WHO), to accelerate development and access to diagnostics, as part of the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The kits have been approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). FIND has procured the Covid-19 test kits and reagents from Drug Controller General of India (DCGI)-approved manufacturers. The tests are run using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technology, which, the organisation says is currently the gold standard for detecting patients with Covid-19.

Overall, PepsiCo India has committed to providing 25,000 Covid-19 test kits to ramp up testing.

FIND has selected five government laboratories, along with a lab run by a NGO, YRG Care. The labs have been shortlisted based on the urgency and requirement of test kits. The laboratories will also receive RNA extraction supplies along with the test kits.

The news comes at a time when testing is extremely crucial to contain the spread of the pandemic in the country. Testing helps authorities detect and contain the spread of the virus to help prevent a massive outbreak.

First-line of defence

“Testing is our first-line of defence against this pandemic – and it is actionable today,” said Sanjay Sarin, Head of FIND India. “The sheer size of India and the density of our urban populations increases the challenges and complexity of scaling up testing capacity quickly and efficiently.”

Ahmed ElSheikh, President, PepsiCo India, said “Our partnership with FIND is all about scaling up access to diagnostics and testing kits across the country. During these challenging times, we have been working very closely with FIND to distribute testing kits to public and private healthcare laboratories in India.”

The NGO has been a long-term partner of the National Tuberculosis (TB) Elimination Programme (NTEP) (formerly known as the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme, or RNTCP) of the Union Health Ministry. Previously, it has helped introduce rapid, quality-assured tests for TB at affordable prices for the public health sector, it said.

Apart from providing testing kits through its NGO partner, Pepsico has also announced other initiatives during Covid-19 including providing over 7 million meals to families impacted by the outbreak in partnership through its other NGO partners.

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Published on May 05, 2020
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