Coronavirus | Four ICMR labs to become approval centres for test kits

These are the National AIDS Research Institute, Pune; the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases, Kolkata; and the National Institute of Pathology, New Delhi.

March 25, 2020 10:34 pm | Updated March 26, 2020 01:39 am IST

A technician prepares COVID-19 coronavirus patient samples for testing at a laboratory. File

A technician prepares COVID-19 coronavirus patient samples for testing at a laboratory. File

The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has approved three other centres, alongside the National Institute of Virology (NIV), as agencies for approving diagnostic kits. These are the National AIDS Research Institute, Pune; the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases, Kolkata; and the National Institute of Pathology, New Delhi, according to a notification issued by the ICMR, signed by Director General, Balram Bhargava.

Also read | Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India

First approved

While the rules require that only kits approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European CE be allowed, ICMR chief Balram Bhargava said last week in press briefing that this was no longer mandatory and Indian diagnostic kit manufacturers were permitted so long as their product was approved by the NIV. Mylab, a diagnostic kit maker in Pune, was the first such indigenous maker of kits to be validated on Monday.

Watch | Your COVID-19 queries answered | Watch | What is contact tracing?

As of Wednesday, a total of 22,928 samples from 22,038 individuals have been tested for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus ( COVID-19 ) and a total of 539 individuals have been confirmed positive, as of the ICMR’s Wednesday morning update, among possible cases and contacts of known positive cases .

There are nearly 16,500 collection centres and 22 laboratory chains along with government labs that are capable, according to the ICMR, of testing nearly 70,000 cases per week.

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