Coronavirus | Ministry to start pooled sampling of migrants for surveillance

Proper labelling (name/age/gender/specimen ID) needs to be done on specimen container, it said.

Updated - May 14, 2020 10:17 pm IST

Published - May 14, 2020 03:31 pm IST - New Delhi

An RT-PCR laboratory for testing samples of COVID-19, in Ernakulam. File

An RT-PCR laboratory for testing samples of COVID-19, in Ernakulam. File

The Union Health Ministry on Thursday said a decision had been taken to use one-time RT-PCR-based pooled sampling for surveillance purposes for migrant workers in institutional quarantine facilities, international passengers in institutional quarantine facilities/hotels earmarked for quarantine and for surveillance purposes in green zones (districts with no case/no case reported in last 21 days).

Also read: Coronavirus | ICMR suggests using pooled samples for molecular testing

Issuing fresh guidelines for pooled sampling for migrants/returnees from abroad/green zones, the Ministry said a cohort of 25 people would be identified and throat/nasal swab would be collected following laid down protocol by trained laboratory personnel under appropriate protective gear (apron, hand glove, face-shield/goggles, N-95 mask), as per the ICMR protocol.

As per the new guidelines, the report will be conveyed to the quarantine/concerned facility within 24 hours. “If any of the pooled samples tests positive, individual samples would be tested from the aliquoted samples preserved in the laboratory,” notes the Ministry.

Giving details of the process of collection of samples, the Ministry said proper labelling (name/age/gender/specimen ID) needed to be done on specimen container.

Also read: Coronavirus | Rapid antibody testing for hotspots first, says ICMR

“Twenty-five such samples of such cohort would be packed in triple layer packaging and will be transported to the identified laboratory under cold chain as per ICMR guidelines,” noted the Health Ministry.

The guidelines add that the outer container mentioning “be tested for SARS-CoV-2” will also bear the details of sender (name/address/phone number).

Also read: Coronavirus | Why are only a fraction of cases tested?

It adds that the samples will be aliquoted and thereafter pooled samples from 25 specimens shall be tested in the laboratory by RT-PCR method.

ELISA test

Meanwhile a release issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research on Thursday noted that scientists at ICMR-NIV, Pune, have developed and validated the completely indigenous IgG ELISA test for antibody detection for SARS-CoV-2. On external validation, IgG test kit has been found to have sensitivity and specificity of 98.7% and 100% respectively.

Also read: BMC to start pool testing

It added that after development in lab at ICMR-NIV, Pune, four companies SPAN, J MITRA, Cipla and Zydus-Cadila, were offered to take up the production. Zydus-Cadila accepted to produce the ELISA kits.

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