New Delhi: The government is hopeful of soon approaching full capacity in using real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT PCR) for overall testing for COVID-19.
(The test is for the qualitative detection of nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2 in upper and lower respiratory specimens (such as nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swabs, sputum, lower respiratory tract aspirates, bronchoalveolar lavage, and nasopharyngeal wash/aspirate or nasal aspirate) collected from individuals suspected of COVID-19 by their healthcare provider).
In a letter addressed to the union health secretary on Sunday, Prof. Dr. Balram Bhargava, Secretary, Department of Health Research, stated that the use of real-time RT PCR “is increasing and we will be approaching full capacity in near future”.
He further informed that the department was expecting delivery of Rapid Test kits (blood based) for use in response to COVID-19 situation. “ln this regard, National Task Force deliberated with experts for ascertaining use of these rapid test kits. Draft of the suggested algorithm was also discussed in detail with technical experts from the Ministry…”
He informed that advisory to start rapid antibody based blood test for COVID-19, in clusters (with containment zones), and in large migration gatherings/evacuees centres is now available at https://icmr.nic.in/sites/defaulVfiles/upload documents/Advisory Antibodv Testino 04042020.pdf.
The Union Health ministry has informed all States/UTs along with operational guidelines for implementation and roles and responsibilities for implementation.
The Indian Council of Medical Research in its advisory to start rapid antibody based blood test for COVID-19 has laid down its strategy for areas reporting clusters (containment zone) and in large migration gatherings/evacuees centres.
Cases of Influenza Like Illness (ILI) to be monitored in health facilities in these areas. The ICMR has advised that any surge in cases has to be monitored
and brought to the notice of Surveillance Officer/CMO for additional investigation. “As a matter of abundant precautions, all symptomatic ILI persons should be advised home quarantine for 14 days,” it stated and added that at facility level, symptomatic ILI individuals to be tested using rapid antibody tests.