The maintenance cost was carried by the university authorities till now but it has become difficult to continue the testing work because of the fund shortage
The Dhaka University PCR lab has stopped testing samples from suspected Covid-19 patients today, due to a fund shortage.
The lab tested 200-250 samples every day, collected at different Covid-19 public hospitals and by organisations like BRAC over the last nearly a month.
But the fund crunch has made it impossible to continue the work, said Dr Latiful Bari, head of food analysis and research laboratory of the Centre for Advanced Research in Sciences (CARS), DU, and a member of the university's Covid-19 executive committee.
The lab's maintenance cost has been borne by the university until now. Apart from that, things like reagents, test kits, alcohol and other miscellaneous items cost about Tk 1.5-2 lakh every week.
The Directorate General of Health Services supplied some of those but not all materials have always been made available, Bari said.
Moreover, the lab is now running short of biosafety equipment like PPE and mask. The office staff working on the floors below the 10th [top] floor of the building, where the lab is situated, worry that they are at risk because of the lab's operation to detect the coronavirus, another person working closely with the lab said, requesting anonymity.
"We want to work. We will resume the lab's operation as soon as we get the fund and other items required for tests," Bari added.
A newly set-up research lab under the CARS was converted into a PCR lab in efforts to increase the testing capacity amid the coronavirus pandemic. It began testing samples on May 6.