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Coronavirus Testing Strategy Revised In India, ICMR Decides To Test More In COVID-19 Hotspots

As per the revised coronavirus testing strategy for India, individuals present in the hotspots and showing symptoms will be tested for novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus Testing Strategy Revised In India, ICMR Decides To Test More In COVID-19 Hotspots
Highlights
  • ICMR revises guidelines for Coronavirus testing for COVID-19 hotspots
  • Those in hotspots with symptoms like fever, cough, runny nose to be tested
  • A total of 1,44,910 samples have been tested for COVID-19 as on Apr 9: ICMR

New Delhi: While the nation is heading towards the end of the 21 days nationwide lockdown, various states have undertaken containment strategy under which coronavirus hotspots are being sealed to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. Amidst this, on Thursday (April 9), the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the nodal body for the fight against COVID-19, updated the coronavirus testing strategy for India. According to the revised strategy, individuals present in the hotspots and showing symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat, and runny nose, will be tested.

Also Read: Fight Coronavirus: Union Minister Smriti Irani’s DIY Guide On How To Make A Homemade Mask

Elaborating on the testing procedure, the guideline stated, “In hotspots/cluster (as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) and in large migration gatherings/evacuees centres, all symptomatic individuals within seven days of illness.”

Within the seven days of illness, rRT-PCR (Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) – a coronavirus confirmatory test will be done. After the seven days of illness, antibody test will be conducted. If the result comes out to be negative, a confirmatory rRT-PCR will be done.

Antibody tests are similar to blood tests. The results are available in 15-30 minutes. The test uses a few drops of blood to determine whether the human body has antibodies for coronavirus.

Appreciating the guidelines, Dr Rajesh Parikh, Director Medical Research and Neuropsychiatrist at Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre said,

Antibody test is not the best screening test. The best strategy is to ‘Test, Trace, Treat’.

Also Read: Combating COVID-19: PM Modi Asks Chief Ministers To Focus On Testing, Tracing, Isolation, Quarantine For Next Few Weeks

Talking about the revised testing strategy and inclusion of an antibody test, Dr Ravindra Mehta, Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Apollo Hospitals in Bengaluru, said,

Antibody test is not a perfect test. It’s not only for coronavirus and there could be some extent of overlap. If the result of antibody test turns out to be negative and the suspicion of infection is high, you will have to confirm it with RT-PCR test.

Further elaborating on the pros and cons of antibody test, Dr Mehta said,

Antibody test is great for cluster areas but to put it in the general population to compensate for the lack of testing kits is probably not a recommended strategy at this point in time. Antibody tests cannot be used as a substitute for a conventional test. It’s an add-on to the strategy as a screener in the hotspot areas. It’ll help only if it’s part of a comprehensive strategy and not a lone strategy.

Also Read: Fighting Coronavirus: ‘Mask Must Hai’ Says Arjun Kapoor As Mumbai Makes Wearing Of Face Masks Mandatory

Coronavirus Testing In India

Earlier only five categories of people were tested for the infectious disease. The previous guideline included – symptomatic individuals who have undertaken international travel in the last 14 days; all symptomatic contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases; all symptomatic health care workers; all patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (fever and cough and/or shortness of breath); asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of a confirmed case – tested once between day 5 and day 14 of coming in his/her contact.

According to the ICMR, as on April 9 (9 PM), a total of 1,44,910 samples from 1,30,792 individuals have been tested. Among suspected cases and contacts of known positive cases in India, 5,705 individuals have been confirmed positive for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). On April 9 alone, 16,002 samples were collected of which 320 turned out to be positive for SARS-CoV-2.

Also Read: COVID-19: What Tests Are Needed? Who Should Take The Coronavirus Test? All You Need To Know

ICMR Approves Use Of Diagnostic Machine For COVID-19

On Friday (April 10), ICMR approved the use of diagnostic machines used for testing drug-resistant tuberculosis for conducting coronavirus tests. According to PTI, a news agency, ICMR has validated ‘TruenatTM beta CoV test on TruelabTM workstation’ and has recommended it as a screening test.

Also Read: 1 COVID-19 Patient Can Infect 406 People In 30 Days If He Doesn’t Follow Lockdown, Social Distancing Norms: ICMR Study

A PTI report stated, “Issuing guidance on the use of Truenat beta CoV, the ICMR said throat/nasal swabs will be collected in the viral transport medium (VTM) with virus lysis buffer provided along with the kit.”

Earlier studies have shown that virus lysis buffer neutralizes Nipah and H1N1 viruses. The results of stability of viral RNA after neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 by virus lysis buffer are awaited from ICMR-NIV, Pune. Till such time, Truenat beta CoV test should only be performed with all biosafety precautions in BSL-2 or BSL-3 setups at laboratories, said ICMR as quoted by PTI.

As of now, ICMR has not issued any revised guidelines on their official website and according to the PTI report, the guidelines will be issued once the results from ICMR-NIV, Pune are available.

Also Read: COVID-19: Indore Police Resorts To Scare Tactics to Keep People At Home During Coronavirus Lockdown

World

23,96,06,768Cases
20,13,42,617Active
3,33,82,100Recovered
48,82,051Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 23,96,06,768 and 48,82,051 have died; 20,13,42,617 are active cases and 3,33,82,100 have recovered as on October 15, 2021 at 4:15 am.

India

3,40,37,592 16,862Cases
2,03,6782,908Active
3,33,82,100 19,391Recovered
4,51,814 379Deaths
In India, there are 3,40,37,592 confirmed cases including 4,51,814 deaths. The number of active cases is 2,03,678 and 3,33,82,100 have recovered as on October 15, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,86,280 2,384

33,157 6

64,13,418 2,343

1,39,705 35

Kerala

48,29,944 9,246

96,421 1,802

47,06,856 10,952

26,667 96

Karnataka

29,82,399 310

9,607 43

29,34,870 347

37,922 6

Tamil Nadu

26,83,396 1,259

15,451 199

26,32,092 1,438

35,853 20

Andhra Pradesh

20,59,122 540

6,588 27

20,38,248 557

14,286 10

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,008 12

135 4

16,86,976 16

22,897

West Bengal

15,79,012 530

7,576 81

15,52,491 601

18,945 10

Delhi

14,39,311 28

337 1

14,13,885 29

25,089

Odisha

10,33,809 521

4,890 38

10,20,645 477

8,274 6

Chhattisgarh

10,05,614 16

203 4

9,91,841 20

13,570

Rajasthan

9,54,382 8

42 6

9,45,386 2

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,244 34

215 20

8,15,943 14

10,086

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,669 12

111 1

7,82,035 11

10,523

Haryana

7,71,035 16

105 158

7,60,881

10,049 174

Bihar

7,26,016 8

42 6

7,16,313 2

9,661

Telangana

6,68,618 168

4,171 40

6,60,512 207

3,935 1

Assam

6,05,847 207

3,646 157

5,96,263 362

5,938 2

Punjab

6,01,971 33

234 11

5,85,199 16

16,538 6

Jharkhand

3,48,406 11

130 4

3,43,141 7

5,135

Uttarakhand

3,43,729 28

175 22

3,36,157 6

7,397

Jammu And Kashmir

3,30,834 93

935 11

3,25,473 104

4,426

Himachal Pradesh

2,21,113 182

1,387 5

2,16,011 173

3,715 4

Goa

1,77,356 68

679 27

1,73,342 39

3,335 2

Puducherry

1,27,259 49

647 4

1,24,763 53

1,849

Manipur

1,22,432 69

1,444 15

1,19,099 84

1,889

Mizoram

1,10,719 901

13,601 435

96,744 1,332

374 4

Tripura

84,295 4

110 8

83,369 12

816

Meghalaya

82,734 87

892 31

80,411 115

1,431 3

Chandigarh

65,295 10

32 5

64,443 15

820

Arunachal Pradesh

54,958 4

202 22

54,476 26

280

Sikkim

31,722 6

224 1

31,108 7

390

Nagaland

31,516 9

230 8

30,613 17

673

Ladakh

20,867 6

44 2

20,615 4

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,675

3 1

10,668 1

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

2 0

10,312

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,640 3

10 1

7,501 2

129

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