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Shaky table possible cause of Sri Lanka PCR machine breakdown: China

ECONOMYNEXT: An unstable work bench may have caused the malfunction of a PCR testing machine in the forefront of containing the spread of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka, the Chinese embassy said on Saturday.

It said the fault in the Chinese-made Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) was detected by a technician flown in from the manufacturer after troubleshooting for 10 hours.

The “malfunction detected after 10-hour work: Automated Molecular Extraction partly deviated… laboratory environment e.g. operation desk unstable might be the cause,” the embassy said on Twitter.

It said the machine had been installed in June “under urgent basis with technical support from China.”

It had done only 26,000 PCR tests when it broke down causing a disruption at a time when Sri Lankan authorities were trying to ramp up testing in the wake of a new wave of infections caused by a more virulent strain of the virus.

The embassy did not say what the fix was for the “unstable” desk, leading to many to suggest that wedging a piece of cardboard under one of the legs could have been a temporary solution.

(COLOMBO, October 31, 2020)

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