Addressing the daily press briefing on Coronavirus (COVID-19), ICMR's Dr. Gangakhedkar, on Friday, stated that 3.19 lakh samples had been tested till date, of which 28,340 were tested in the past 24 hours. When asked about pool testing ongoing in some private labs, he said that ICMR did not recommend pool testing for individual diagnosis, but only for surveillance. He also dissuaded the use of BCG vaccines among health workers treating COVID-19 patients, due to lack of adequate evidence. Currently, India's COVID-19 tally stands at 13387 cases, with 437 deaths.
Coronavirus LIVE Updates: Virus' growth rate declines to 1.2 in April; cases at 13387
ICMR: '3.19 lakh samples tested till date'
- 3.19 lakh samples tested till yesterday - 28340 tested yesterday. Of which 4408 tests done in private labs and rest done in ICMR labs
- For pool test, we issued guidelines and are used for surveillance purposes mainly. Place where the possibility of zero positivity is less than 2%, 5 samples can be collected and tested to ascertain the growth trend of the virus. We have not recommended individual diagnosis using pool testing because it can increase the price of testing. Private labs must think about this.
- Pool genome sequencing has been done for this virus previously. The virus which has arrived in India from China, Europe, Iran has been sequenced. Inspite of having different types of viruses, the treatment is the same. The virus does not mutate fast, hence the vaccine which is formed now can be used against future viruses too.
- We will plan a study next week. At this time, we don't have enough evidence. We won't recommend BCG vaccines for medical health workers, as of now.
ICMR confirms '5 lakh anti-body test kits received', explains India's COVID testing ratio
ICMR: '5 lakh test kits recieved'
On Thursday, ICMR revealed that 5 lakh rapid testing (anti-body) kits were received by India from two companies -Livzon and Wondfo. He added that the kits had over 80% sensitivity and the kits will be used for surveillance and not for early diagnosis. ICMR has already revised its testing strategy to include testing in 'hotspots/cluster' for all symptomatic cases - within 7 days (rRT- PCR method) and after 7 days (antibody test). The ICMR previously only allowed testing of all people with symptoms with travel history, contact history, SARI patients and asymptomatic people with high-risk contacts.
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