Increase in Testing Capacity
The Indian Council for Medical Research is preparing for the worst-case scenario and increasing its capacity to test around one lakh a day. It has managed to increase COVID-19 testing capacity by 260% to 18,000 samples. In addition, they have approved around 200 labs, both public and private, for COVID-19 testing through RT-PCR machines.
ICMR’s Efforts for COVID-19 Testing
ICMR is working around the clock, coordinating with the states to increase manpower for optimizing functions such as RNA extraction. Besides, it has procured 10 lakh RT-PCR kits to increase COVID-19 Testing and is in the middle of validating non-U.S.FDA, EUA new kits. Also, it has prepared a portal for streamlining the data collection on a real-time basis. Apart from this, ICMR has issued an advisory to conduct rapid anti-body testing for reported contaminated zones and large evacuee centers. However, all positives through this method will need confirmation by confirmatory assays for SARS-CoV-2.
Testing Efficiency of Other Countries
Gangakhedkar, deputy director (ICMR), declared that the country has ordered 5 lakh testing kits. Comparing to other countries, India is far behind in COVID-19 testing as only over 200000 tests have been carried out till date. It has carried 93 tests per million population and reported only three cases per million population. While Switzerland is conducting COVID-19 tests at a rate of 18,256 per million, Norway has the testing capacity of about 19,528 per million. On the other hand, South Korea has finally contained the pandemic with efficient testing of 4.61 lakh tests at a rate of 8,996 per million population.
Lav Agarwal, joint secretary, Indian Health Ministry stated that the Ministry has followed a pro-active policy from the beginning. The government is focusing on surveillance and contact tracing to curb the spread.
Millions of poor people live crammed-in conditions and spread in areas such as Dharavi in Mumbai require testing in millions. So, now it is the time to speed up the COVID-19 testing or the confirmed cases won’t count even the tip of the iceberg.