Coronavirus | India ramps up testing capacity

ICMR nod for Rapid Antigen Detection Test in hotspots.

June 16, 2020 06:34 pm | Updated June 17, 2020 12:00 pm IST - NEW DELHI



India has ramped up capacity to test up to three lakh samples per day for novel coronavirus ( COVID-19 ) infection, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday. The total number of samples tested so far is 59,21,069 with 1,54,935 samples tested in the last 24 hours, according to data released by the Ministry.

“A network of 907 labs has been created in the country as on date. This includes 659 labs in the government sector and 248 in the private sector,” noted a Ministry release.

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Advisory issued

The Health Ministry also explained that to make COVID-19 testing more affordable and increase the volume of testing without losing reliability, sensitivity and specificity, the Indian Council of Medical Research has issued an advisory on point-of-care Rapid Antigen Detection Test .

“The Rapid Antigen test may be used in containment zones and hospital settings under strict medical supervision. The Standard Q COVID-19 Ag detection kit takes 15 minutes to show results-and therefore, will help in early detection of the disease. The antigen test can be conducted at the site of sample collection in the healthcare setting within one hour of sample collection. Domestic manufacturing capacity of antigen test kits in the country currently is around 10 million in a month,” the Ministry said.

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To help States easily procure the Rapid Antigen test kits, the Centre is ensuring that the domestic manufactures are onboarded to the Government E-Marketplace (GEM) portal, the Ministry said.

It added that in order to enhance the testing capacity in Delhi, each of the 11districts shall now have assigned labs for exclusively testing the samples from the respective districts.

“The samples from each district are being sent to these labs to ensure timely testing and getting the results without any delay. Currently there are 42 labs in Delhi with per day testing capacity of approx. 17000,” the Ministry said.

For frontline workers

It has noted that the ELISA and CLIA antibody tests can be used for asymptomatic frontline workers, doctors, paramedics etc., and for those working in COVID-19 care to boost their confidence

Meanwhile the Ministry in its release said Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh have already started engaging with the private healthcare providers to facilitate enhanced bed availability and critical care health facilities to ensure fair and transparent charges for services provided.

“They have negotiated and reached an agreement with the private sector on reasonable rates and arrangements to provide critical care for in-patient COVID-19 admissions. States have also been asked to proactively engage with the private sector health providers and consider pooling in public and private healthcare facilities, as this will help in providing prompt, good quality and reasonable health care to COVID-19 patients,” said the Ministry.

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