Lab overburdened, Pune remains anxious

The National Institute of Virology (NIV) gets more than 600 swab tests each day when it has a capacity to handle just about 300. So, from a 24-hour deadline for the test results it now takes a good 60 hours.

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Authorities now want to limit the number of tests they take and instead focus on studying the behaviour of the virus.

It was two-year-old Issac’s third trip to Naidu Hospital in the last 48 hours. He has fever, a sore throat, and he’s breathless.

His parents Tina and Srini are all the more worried because they stay in the same lane as Dr Baba Mane, Pune’s third swine flu victim.

“We don’t even know if he’s positive or negative. We are just giving him ordinary flu medicines like Crocin,” said Srini Nair.

“Our GP said there were cases from our area. I don’t know what to do,” said Tina Nair.

Like the Nairs, many others are spending anxious hours outside Pune’s Naidu Hospital, waiting for a list that will tell them if they have the swine flu. And their wait has been made longer by an overburdened NIV.

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