52 labs for testing suspected coronavirus cases made functional in India
The central government expanded the network of laboratories designated to test samples of suspected coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases to 52 on Saturday in wake of 34 confirmed cases.Updated: Mar 08, 2020 07:58 IST
The central government expanded the network of laboratories designated to test samples of suspected coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases to 52 on Saturday in wake of 34 confirmed cases.
“There no shortage of testing kits or other equipment for testing of samples in India. We have the capacity to conduct at least 25,000 tests currently, and we have done only about 4,000 as of now. There is no need to panic; we are fully equipped,” said a health ministry official, requesting anonymity.
Two of the designated laboratories are situated in Delhi with advanced virology laboratories at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) already testing samples to detect Covid-19.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) -- the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research -- along with the Department of Health Research is supervising testing of samples and is ensuring quality of testing across the 52 labs. Also, 57 other laboratories are helping in sample collection for the testing of Covid-19.
A total of 56 DHR/ICMR Virus Research and Diagnostic Laboratories (VRDLs) and a laboratory at Leh have been designated to facilitate sample collection through government health authorities. Their role is to provide collection material (swabs and viral transport media) and facilitate the transport of samples to the nearest testing laboratory.
The Lady Hardinge Medical College is designated to collect samples in Delhi.
As on March 7, India has tested at least 4,280 samples, of which 34 have tested positive since January 17, 2020.
This includes testing of 1,308 samples from 654 people evacuated from Wuhan, China and quarantined at the Indo-Tibetan Border Police-run and Manesar camps.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared an outbreak of febrile respiratory illness of unknown etiology in December 2019 from Wuhan, Hubei province, China.
Infection is known to spread through droplets of an infected patient generated by coughing and sneezing or through prolonged contact with an infected person. Virus has been named as SARS-CoV-2 due to its relatedness to the earlier SARS-CoV (2002-03). The WHO has named the disease COVID-19 and ICTV has named the virus as SARSCoV-2.