ICMR Invites Applications From Medical Colleges To Set Up COVID-19 Testing Facilities
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India, 10 April 2020 9:35 AM GMT | Updated 10 April 2020 10:00 AM GMTcheck update history
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At present, 139 labs under the ICMR are functional while 65 private laboratories have been given approval for conducting COVID-19 tests.
The apex health research body announced that the private medical colleges are required to submit a copy of the NABL accreditation certificate and scope of accreditation for real-time PCR for RNA viruses.
"These medical colleges should have the availability of a BSL-2 level laboratory facility along with molecular biology setup for virological diagnosis and functioning and calibrated Biosafety cabinet type 2A/2B in the laboratory can apply," ICMR said.
Apart from these critieria, medical microbiologists and technicians need to have experience in virology and handling clinical specimens, especially respiratory samples. They need to have good understanding of laboratory bio-safety and bio-security and must be trained for handling respiratory samples for viral diagnosis, RNA extraction and real-time PCR.
According to the data released by the Ministry of Health, till Wednesday there has been 5,865 COVID-19 cases in the country, an increase of 485 cases in the last 24 hours, and 149 deaths.
Head of Epidemiology and Communicable diseases at ICMR Raman R Gangakhedkar on Wednesday said that 1,21,271 tests for COVID-19 have been done across the country so far. Out of these, 13,345 tests were conducted on Tuesday and 2,267 of those were done in private labs.
He further added that at present, 139 labs under the ICMR are functional while 65 private laboratories have been given approval for conducting COVID-19 tests.
The ICMR is planning to scale up testing capacity to one lakh tests/day in the coming months. It has approved over 200 labs (both public and private) for COVID-19 testing through-PCR machines.
"We are also identifying other government and private labs, research institutes and medical colleges which have the capability and infrastructure to undertake COVID-19 testing and are in conversation with them to include them in the testing network," the health research body said.
The ICMR is also working on interventions such as adopting a 24×7 working model at existing labs, coordinating with states to ramp up manpower and optimising in-lab processes such as RNA extraction to minimise turnaround time between sample receipt and testing.
Also Read: 'Conduct COVID-19 Tests Free Of Charge At Govt, Private Labs For All Indians': SC Asks Centre