Context: Recently the Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare dedicated the COBAS 6800 testing machine to the nation.

More on News:

  • This is the first such testing machine that has been procured by the Government for testing of COVID-19 cases and is installed at the National Centre for Disease Control.
  • Our country has now developed a capacity to conduct 1,00,000 tests per day and has tested nearly 20 lakh tests for COVID-19 mark at  more than 500 laboratories.

About COBAS 6800: 

  • It is a fully automated, high end machine for performing real time PCR testing COVID-19 in the service of the nation
  • It is a sophisticated machine enabled with robotics that minimizes the chance of contamination as well as the risk of infection to the health care workers since it can be operated remotely with limited human intervention. 
  • As the machine requires a minimum BSL2+ ( Biosafety level) containment level for testing, it cannot be placed at just any facility. 


  • It will provide quality, high-volume testing with a high throughput of around 1200 samples in 24 hours. 
  • It will largely increase the testing capacity with reduction in pendency.
  • COBAS 6800 can also detect other pathogens like Viral Hepatitis B & C, HIV, MTb (both rifampicin and isoniazid resistance), Papilloma, CMV, Chlamydia, Neisseria etc.

Way Ahead:

  • The success of these machines is also dependent on the nation's attitude towards the corona warriors i.e the country needs to shun stigma and applaud the contribution of these frontline healthcare providers.
  • Further emphasises needs to be placed on the quality and sturdiness of the community surveillance and contact tracing.

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)

  • It is done after taking nasal or throat swabs of the patient, from which RNA is extracted and converted to DNA, which is then amplified before being checked for confirmation of the virus. 
  • Report comes after 9 hours.
  • Early detection of disease is possible as it is a standard test for COVID -19  identification and not dependent on antibodies formation.
  • More efficient as it ensures certainty of disease .