The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Jagutpal, yesterday, announced, at the National Assembly, that the Next Generation Sequencing Equipment, acquired at a cost of Rs 6.5 million, is expected to be operational by mid-April 2021.
The equipment, said Dr Jagutpal, has been delivered on 24 March 2021. It is presently being installed and will, thereafter, be commissioned. He added that 14 out of 15 reagents and consumables have been acquired and the remaining one is expected to reach Mauritius early next week. Online training will be given to the staff of the Molecular Biology Department on the use of the equipment, he stated.
The Minister affirmed that previously, there was no equipment to carry out the sequencing tests in Mauritius and consequently, samples were sent to the Francis Crick Institute in United Kingdom (UK) and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa. He recalled that the results obtained for incoming passengers from October 2020 to December 2020, and January 2021 to 5 March 2021 showed that 5 of the cases were South African variants and 2 were UK variants.
According to Dr Jagutpal, results for tests carried out from 5 March 2021 onwards did not show any variant of concern that is UK, South Africa, Brazil or Japan.