Covid-19: India crosses 82 million tests in 9 months
At least one million samples are being tested for Covid-19 each day on an average since past month and a half, with country’s current Covid-19 testing capacity being 1.5 million tests each dayUpdated: Oct 08, 2020, 08:23 IST
Testing for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has picked up exponentially in the past 9 months, with around 82 million cumulative number of samples having already been tested so far.
At least one million samples are being tested for Covid-19 each day on an average since past month and a half, with country’s current Covid-19 testing capacity being 1.5 million tests each day.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) that is spearheading the Covid-19 testing initiative in the country has currently approved 1,893 laboratories from across the country that also include several standalone labs.
Of all ICMR approved laboratories performing Covid-19 tests in India, 1,104 are in the government sector and 789 labs are in the private sector.
There are at least 15 more applications pending for approval before ICMR that are currently being processed. Of these, 15 are in Maharashtra, and 1 each in Sikkim and Andhra Pradesh.
There are 973 laboratories in all that are performing the gold standard real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test; 791 that perform Covid-19 tests using the TrueNat testing platform; and about 129 labs that perform CBNAAT testing for Covid-19.
Both TrueNat and CBNAAT testing platforms are used to conduct tuberculosis testing, and have been re-purposed to also conduct Covid-19 tests in a bid to enhance country’s overall Covid-19 testing capacity.
“There are multiple factors behind India’s low death rate; from implementing public health measures such as nationwide lockdown, to inter-ministerial collaborations for launching several make-in-India initiatives, and increasing testing,” says Dr Samiran Panda, head, epidemiology and communicable diseases at ICMR.
“Testing was increased by not only enhancing laboratory network in a short span of time but also by repurposing of existing diagnostic platforms, for example that for tuberculosis, to use for Covid-19 testing. All these were crucial in identifying the infected, and isolating them as per requirement very early on in the disease stage,” he adds.