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Home / India News / Why coronavirus testing takes 15 minutes in China and a day in India

Why coronavirus testing takes 15 minutes in China and a day in India

China uses a rapid, 15-minute coronavirus test which is also used by Italy and Japan but has been shunned by Britain.

india Updated: Mar 10, 2020, 18:37 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Doctors wearing masks and protective gear as they are seen inside isolation ward of Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, in Amritsar, India, on Saturday, March 07, 2020.
Doctors wearing masks and protective gear as they are seen inside isolation ward of Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, in Amritsar, India, on Saturday, March 07, 2020.(HT Photo/Sameer Sehgal)

The coronavirus outbreak has infected over 100,000 people across the globe and has claimed over 3,000 lives globally. While world economies leave no stone unturned in putting up a fight against the virus, one thing that varies among countries is the method used for testing samples for coronavirus.

As per reports, while it takes just fifteen minutes for health officials to test a blood sample for coronavirus in China, in India it takes somewhere close to 24 hours or more.

The difference is because China uses a rapid, 15-minute coronavirus test which is said to detect the virus and reflect the correct response about 80 per cent of the time. The test, which is also used by Italy and Japan, has been shunned by the British government.

Public Health England, UK’s executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care, hopes to develop its own test and says that the rapid coronavirus test isn’t accurate enough, it also lacks approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Also read: Over 25 countries announce school closures, more than 300 million kids affected by coronavirus 

North Carolina-based company BioMedomics says its rapid coronavirus test is being used by countries like South Korea, China, Italy, Japan and few nations in the Middle East. The test works by pricking a person’s finger and collecting blood droplets for testing. The depiction of the result is similar to that of an at-home pregnancy test.

The swab test used by Britain usually takes anywhere between 24 to 48 hours to produce the results for coronavirus sampling.

In India, blood samples from suspected coronavirus cases are sent for testing wherein a laboratory testing technique called Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is used.

Also read: ‘Don’t simply walk into any clinic or hospital,’ say doctors

The tests involve a gene-based assay called polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and a more sensitive form called reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). It takes about 24 hours to get the results from after testing.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the diagnosis of Covid-19 must be confirmed by RT-PCR or gene sequencing for respiratory or blood specimens, as the key indicator for hospitalisation.

Officials at Pune-based National Institute of Virology (NIV) have been working round the clock to ensure smooth testing of samples for Covid-19.

Raman R Gangakhedkar, head, Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases-I (ECD-I), division of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), over the phone, said, “NIV currently can conduct tests on 750 samples in a day. We can even double up our capacity if needed.”

India, so far, has confirmed 43 positive cases of coronavirus.

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