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India has one of the lowest rates of COVID-19 testing in the world. This woman virologist’s pioneering work - completed hours before having a child - will likely change that. (Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Teresa J. Cleveland)
India has one of the lowest rates of COVID-19 testing in the world. This woman virologist’s pioneering work – completed hours before having a child – will likely change that. (Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Teresa J. Cleveland)

Late last week, novel coronavirus testing kits hit markets in India — thanks it seems to the dedication of one woman.

Virologist Minal Dakhave Bhosale reportedly led a team at Mylab Discover in Pune, which was said to be the first Indian lab to receive approval to both make and sell the testing kits it developed. Her team shipped its first batch of tests to diagnostic labs throughout the country.

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A photo of Minal Dakhave Bhosale, from the Mylab website.
A photo of Minal Dakhave Bhosale, from the Mylab website.

And she did so mere hours before having a baby, after only beginning work on the project in February. “It was an emergency, so I took this on as a challenge. I have to serve my nation,” she told the BBC.

It’s a critical step toward bridging India’s testing gap — it presently has one of the lowest rates of testing citizens in the world, with only a reported 6.8 people getting tested for every 1 million. Now, Mylab Discover says it can supply up to 100,000 Covid-19 testing kits per week going forward.

[Related: The Story Exchange’s Coronavirus Crisis Coverage]

But the southeast Asian nation has already suffered the effects of COVID-19’s spread. In an attempt to combat it, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently enacted a 21-day lockdown, a measure that is disproportionately hurting the country’s poorest citizens. And still, as of publication of this article, 1,071 cases have been reported in India — and 21 fatalities — have already been reported.

Bhosale is now being widely lauded for her dedication. In a tweet, billionaire Indian businessman Anand Mahindra said: “Ms. Bhosale, you delivered not just the test kit and your baby , but you also delivered a ray of hope to the country.  We stand and salute you.”

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