A total of 157 laboratories are gearing up to conduct testing for COVID-19. This includes both government and private labs, the official website of the ICMR showed on Friday.
Of the 157 labs, 121 are government laboratories approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research for conducting tests for the deadly novel coronavirus. However, only 109 are currently operational while 12 laboratories are in the process of being operationalised. In addition to this there are 35 private labs across the country for conducting these tests. These are in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand.
The World Health Organisation has stressed upon testing during the novel coronavirus outbreak across the world. The Indian government claims raising the capacity of testing for COVID-19 on a regular basis.
Earlier, addressing a press conference on Wednesday, Joint Secretary, Health, Lav Agarwal had said: “There are 29 private laboratory chains, accredited by the Indian Council of Medical Research for conducting tests for novel coronavirus. These labs have 16,000 collection centres across the country, where at least 12,000 tests can be conducted per day.”
Agarwal said the private labs will have to follow ICMR norms while testing for COVID-19. However, people who need to be tested have to fit in the criteria prescribed by the ICMR. According to the ICMR, the criteria includes symptoms that include fever, sore throat, runny nose, dyspnea, etc or individuals returned from affected countries like China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Iran, Italy, close contact with confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 infection, all individuals evacuated and quarantined from Wuhan, China and Diamond Princess ship, Japan and other coronavirus affected countries.
“The National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune functions as the resource centre for the Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratories (VRDL) network and is responsible for providing technical training for performing molecular and serological assays for virological diagnosis. NIV, Pune also performs the important task of standardizing assay procedures for the network as well as quality control and quality assurance activities,” said the ICMR.