Coronavirus | More labs being opened by ICMR across country

‘Efforts to increase test capacity by the pooling of samples are being evaluated’

Published - March 31, 2020 08:05 am IST - New Delhi

Principal Scientific Adviser to the government K. VijayRaghavan on Monday said the the Indian Council of Medical Research ( ICMR ) is amplifying Coronavirus test sites and more laboratories are being opened across the country.

He said the Indian industry is also working on vaccines, re-purposing, critical-care treatment and partnering with academia and start-ups.

“Many of you have pointed out the need for more diagnostic tests. The @ICMRDELHI is amplifying test sites and you will see many more being done. More laboratories are being opened for testing across states,” he said in a series of tweets.

He also said efforts to increase test capacity by the ‘pooling’ of samples are being evaluated.

This is not simple and needs the development and testing of optimisation algorithms so that one positive in a large pool is not missed, he added.

“There are new tests being rolled-out, globally, for the presence, or traces of the virus having visited a person. These can be useful as a first-pass, even if they are cruder than the ‘gold-standard’ RT-PCR. Indian labs are developing these kinds of tests too,” he said.

He said the Indian start-ups and incubators have been “astounding’ and working on the highest end drug-repurposing, using AI to predict targets, to making equipment and tools for treatment of coronavirus.

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