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Credence launches the COVID Diagnostics Center



Credence Genomics, trail blazers in the area of genome diagnostics, has launched the COVID Diagnostics Center to cater for the needs of COVID RT-qPCR testing in Sri Lanka. The company announced last week.

The COVID Diagnostics Center is a diagnostic grade facility with the capacity to deliver over 6,000 tests, a four- hour reporting time and a lab time of 70 mins. Credence CDC President Dr. Sarath Paranavitane, an industry veteran who has been involved in many important local and international healthcare projects  that cater to high quality testing and patient care, who will be heading the Centre said. 

“The vision behind the COVID Diagnostics Center (CDC) is to serve the need for rapid high quality PCR testing where a patient can conduct the gold standard qPCR test within three hours based on enhanced technology investments. The unit uses robotic magnetic bead extractors from Pentabase Denmark, a leader in RNA extraction and qPCR. The units are used in major airports, and health institutions including Sri Lanka’s BIA lab which conducted 100,00 tests on this  platform recently”, said Paranavitane.

Credence CDC also uses diagnostic grade approved RT-qPCR machines from leading suppliers in a purpose-built facility designed specifically to prevent contamination, while  a team of award-winning Lankan scientists with global delivery experience is behind every single test. The facility follows strict decontamination and fogging protocols ensuring the integrity of the unit and in turn each sample, a news release said.

“Each sample is registered online, and sample integrity is checked through multiple quality control parameters, while Credence only works with collectors who are evaluated and certified by a consultant microbiologist or virologist”.

Paranavitane went on to say that the COVID Diagnostic Center has been conceived to respond to the national need for high quality, rapid, and precise PCR testing. An early test result will enable  the Sri Lankan  workforce to take prompt  action in keeping with the government guidelines which in turn will help the workforce to return to work early and ensure smooth functioning of the organization.

“A test of this speed, accuracy and cost effectiveness will reduce the government burden by encouraging early home isolation and also curtail spread of COVID 19.”

The uniqueness of the Credence lab vis-a- vis other facilities includes the fact that it is the only facility that could perform 6,000 tests per day and give a report in four hours, the entire process from collection point to generation of a report can be viewed on line by an access given from  a dedicated portal, and all tests are done on a diagnostic platform as opposed to a research platform with no pooling of samples.

The process is automated with minimal human interaction thereby ensuring 100 % accuracy. Every report  carries the CT value in compliance with WHO and CDC  guidelines, while the team of collectors are trained and certified by a consultant microbiologist and consultant physician [Dr Paranavitane] on an ongoing basis, with weekly reviews.

 “Collection of samples as you are aware is the first most important step in this process of PCR testing as if this is  not done properly, the subsequent steps  leading  to report generation becomes a futile exercise” said Paranavitane.

CEO, Credence Genomics Dr. Vaz Gnanam  said “the COVID Diagnostic Center is an amalgamation of scientists, healthcare professionals, and the most advanced technology along with data systems and processes under the exemplary leadership of Dr. Sarath Paranavitane  in response to the national crisis caused by COVID. Credence Genomics considers it  a privilege to serve our nation at this time of crisis.

Dr. Vaz Gnanam futher said that Credence Genomics is honoured to join hands with the Central Medical Centre (PVT) Ltd. at Kohuwala – a longstanding and reputed family practice of Dr.Sarath Paranavitane’s to take forward the concept of next generation sequencing in cancer management at both primary and secondary healthcare levels

Credence Genomics (Pvt) Limited is Sri Lanka’s first and foremost clinical genomics laboratory to provide high throughput, high quality next generation sequencing services. Credence Genomics services both international and local genetic testing markets by exporting high quality testing services and products. A long term collaboration with Apollo Hospitals in India , has seen Credence’s unique infectious disease Bactfast and Fungifast being used across the board at arguably  the largest South Asian healthcare services provider. Credence Genomics has forged many partnerships globally and delivers their oncology and fertility range apart from the award winning dxn1 – infectious disease range.



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Webinar on ‘Security of Information Assets: What the Board Needs to Know’



The Sri Lanka Institute of Directors (SLID) together with EY organized a webinar, moderated by Manil Jayasinghe-Partner, EY on “Security of Information Assets: What the Board Needs to Know” recently to update the knowledge and understanding of Board members on the increasing cyber security risks and threats to information assets of an organization brought about by the rapid wave of digitalization and resulting changes in the way organizations work in response to the on-going pandemic.

The webinar also discussed strategies and best practices on how best to mitigate these risks in securing information assets while ensuring business continuity, loss minimization and quick, safe recovery in the event of a breach. The keynote address was delivered by Dileepa Lathsara-CEO, TechCert and the panel comprised of eminent tech and business leaders Madu Ratnayake-Executive Vice President, CIO/GM Virtusa and D. Soosaipillai-INED of Listed Companies.

“It is important to define what information assets are so that security can be provided to those assets. Contrary to the misconception that information assets are only the application systems or the systems where staff work on and the data that resides on those systems, information assets include supporting infrastructure such as switches, patch panels, routers, servers and all other equipment, and application systems including confidential corporate information in those systems. It is also important to identify where corporate information is stored and who has access to it” said Dileepa Lathsara-CEO, TechCert.

“Boards should get involved in handling cyber security risk by firstly setting a security tone for the organization so that everyone takes security seriously and also ensure that the required resources are made available. Boards can focus on the actual requirements of information security by adopting and adhering to security frameworks, standards, acts and directives such as NIST and ISO27000 series, PCI-DSS rather than having the IT security team re-invent the wheel” he added.

He further stated that cyber security should be incorporated into the digital transformation chain and should not be a mere afterthought to be plugged in at the end. Cyber accountability is also important in that it is the organization’s ability to demonstrate that they have good cyber hygiene to ensure, in case of an eventual attack, the ability to track back to a unique event/person or group responsible with admissible evidence which also aids in quick rectification and recovery. Dileepa also emphasized that it is important to make informed and optimal investments in cyber security mitigation which can be calculated preferably as Annualized Loss Expectancy (ALE) as against ROI since security is about loss prevention and not about earnings where ALE is calculated as the cost of a security incident x chance that the incident will occur in a year.

Panelist Madu Ratnayake said that it is essential and fundamental to have the right people in the security team led by a CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) and that cyber security is a journey and not a destination as security is evolving. The Boards should comprise of members who have expertise on security given that most companies are going digital and the risk becomes crucial.

Panelist D. Soosaipillai said that the first thing is to find a security standard to be adopted in the organization without which there will be limitless spending on security without knowing what the benefits are. The organization should have a security vertical such as a CISO or IT Security, which is where the Boards will look at to establish ownership for IT security. He also suggested that Board does regular, if not half yearly Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT) by external 3rd parties into the systems/security matrix of the organization.

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Sampath Bank further simplifies cash management for businesses with launch of Visa Business Debit Card



Sampath Bank recently announced the launch of Sri Lanka’s first Visa powered business debit card linked to a corporate account – the Sampath Bank Visa Business Debit Card – to help businesses of all sizes gain more control over their expenses.

The Bank’s business customers will now be able to move away from cash and provide separate debit cards to their employees for day-to-day expenditure. They can set monthly transaction limits to each individual card and link the cards to their preferred company account with Sampath Bank. The chosen account will be directly debited each time an employee makes a payment using the card. Businesses can consolidate all spending information using the detailed electronic reports it offers and simplify their payments, bookkeeping, reporting and monitoring processes.

Offering greater convenience and security, this new business debit card from Sampath Bank is set to encourage more businesses to go digital with their expenses, in line with the government and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s efforts to drive the adoption of cashless payments in the country.

Commenting on this, Tharaka Ranwala, Senior Deputy General Manager – Operations and Group Chief Marketing Officer, Sampath Bank PLC, said, “We are delighted to help businesses of all sizes go digital with their daily expenses with the launch of the Sampath Bank Visa Business Debit Card. Moving away from cumbersome cash transactions, businesses can now provide staff members with individual debit cards to be used for company expenses. The cards are linked to the customers’ preferred Sampath Bank accounts which get debited every time a transaction is made using these cards. We look forward to seeing our business customers experience the convenience and security offered by this solution to simplify their cash flow management as well as accounting, reporting and monitoring.”



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CSE indices dip below average turnover



By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

CSE saw the bear run persist for the third consecutive day with both indices dipping sharply below average turnover. The market was negative and at one point it declined to 200 points and subsequently started recovering  but not up to a steady level, stock market analysts said.

The market saw heavy foreign selling worth Rs. 700 million, up from Rs. 53.5 million, thereby pushing the year-to-date figure up. Foreigners continue to exit from some blue chip companies.

As result, both indices moved downwards. All Share Price Index went down by 131.94 points and S and P SL20 went down by 56.09 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 2.43 billion with a single crossing. The crossing was reported in Lion Brewery, which crossed 673,000 shares to the tune of Rs. 363 million, its shares traded at Rs. 540.

In the retail market five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Vallibel One Rs 290 (5.7 million shares traded), LOLC Rs. 243 million (736,000 shares traded), Expolanka Rs. 197 million (4.4 million shares traded), Browns Investment Rs. 170 million (1.1 million shares traded) and Dipped Products Rs. 127 million (2.9 million shares traded). During the day 141 million share volumes changed hands 23199 transactions.

During the day, top turnover companies, LOLC,  JKH, Browns Investments, Melstacorp and Expolnka contributed negatively to the Index. LOLC  being one of the top listed companies in the stock market  contributed 21 negative points to the All Share Price Index.  Other companies were, JKH 7 negative points, Browns, Melstacorp and Expolanka contributed six negative points each during the day.

It is said that CTC and Carsons Cumberbatch contributed positively to the All Share Price Index.  CTC contributed the highest number of points to the Index which was 10 points.

It is said that even though the market’s recent downward trend is disappointing, it is believed that the bourse will gradually reverse course in line with the expectation of an upward biased long term trajectory.’Consequently, investors are advised to take advantage of the current weakness and focus on accumulating fundamentally robust and liquid stocks in high growth sectors with a long term investment horizon, stock brokers said. 

Sri Lanka’s rupee opened weaker at 195/199 levels to the US dollar in the one-week forwards market on Wednesday while bond yields were slightly up, dealers said. The rupee last closed in the one- week forward market at 196.50/197.50 to the dollar on Tuesday.



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