Testing for coronavirus starts in Nepal

No new 2019-nCoV cases found, says Epidemiolgy and Disease Control Division

Kathmandu, January 27

Two patients suspected of coronavirus infection, admitted at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, Teku, were discharged from the hospital today. The patients were discharged after the coronavirus test reports provided by the National Public Health Laboratory turned out negative, according to the hospital.

However a woman suspected of coronavirus infection is under observation in the isolation ward of the hospital. “The woman is under observation of our medical team. Her medical reports are likely to arrive tomorrow,” said a hospital source. According to a press release from the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division, only one person has been confirmed with the disease till date in the country. “No additional cases have been confirmed,” reads the statement signed by Dr Bibek Kumar Lal, director of EDCD under the Department of Health Services.

NPHL has started testing coronavirus in its laboratory from today. The laboratory had borrowed reagents for comprehensive tests of the virus from the Centre for Molecular Dynamics Nepal.

“We borrowed reagents for testing 100 samples as there was immediate need. The process of purchasing reagent is under way and it will take some time,” said Dr Runa Jha, director of NPHL.

“ The regents were brought to Kathmandu a few days back from South Korea from our collaborating centre,” said Dr Sameer Mani Dixit, director of Research at the Centre for Molecular Dynamics Nepal.

Health practitioners have warned that precautions be taken while handling samples. “Precautions should be taken while dealing with the virus in the laboratory. A small human error can cause transmission. The water used in/after esting the sample should be disposed properly,” said Dr Dixit.

“The tests are being done in biosafety level 2 laboratory. Every precaution is being taken,” said Dr Jha.

The laboratory has also planned to train doctors and health practitioners of Civil Hospital, Bhaktapur Hospital, Birendra Military Hospital, Norvic International Hospital, Grande International Hospital, Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital and Bir Hospital for testing the samples. “We are giving the training tomorrow,” Dr Jha added. The outbreak of pneumonia in China is believed to have been caused by a new strain of coronavirus, which has already killed 81 people in China. Over 2,700 confirmed cases have been reported in China. 2019-nCoV cases have also been reported in Japan, Thailand, South Korea, the United States, Australia, France, Malaysia, Singapore, Nepal, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.