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BENGALURU: Karnataka inaugurated a mobile RT-PCR covid- 19 testing lab on Wednesday which it said was the first in the country and would help ramp up testing in the state.

"This is a first of its kind and the nation’s only ICMR approved RT-PCR (Real Time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) covid lab capable of conducting 9,000 tests per month," Medical education minister K.Sudhakar said.

Results from this mobile lad will be available in four hours.

The Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, has developed the MITR (Mobile Infection Testing and Reporting) lab, which is capable of conducting 9,000 tests per month.

Bengaluru and other parts of Karnataka have seen a surge in coronavirus cases over the last few weeks, making the state the third worst hit now.

Over the last one week, the state has added 33,326 new cases which includes 11,942 in Bengaluru.

On Tuesday, a record 6,259 new cases were reported taking the state's case load to 1,45,830, of which nearly 75,000 are active.

Karnataka chief minister B.S.Yediyurappa, his predecessor Siddaramaiah, among others, have tested positive for the respiratory disease.

"The mobile lab can also be utilized for molecular diagnostic testing and can be deployed in Corona hot spots quickly. Apart from Covid, the lab can be utilized for testing H1N1, HCV, TB, HPV, HIV etc," the minister said in his statement.

Karnataka has been conducting 24,358 tests being done per million compared with the national average of 17,256.

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