ICMR asks states, UTs to approve rapid antigen testing in all government and private labs

The move is aimed at increasing testing as COVID-19 cases in India cross the 1-million mark.

COVID-19 testing in India: In a bid to ramp up testings for Coronavirus in India, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has urged all the states and Union Territories (UTs) in the country to approve antigen testing in government as well as private labs. The decision of enhancing Coronavirus testing in India with antigen tests has come at a time when the total number of COVID-19 cases has surged significantly and crossed the 1-million mark. The information has been conveyed by ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava in a letter to all the states and UTs, according to a report by PTI.

It is to note that many organisations have been requesting ICMR for initiation of rapid antigen testing across the country. Antigen tests are ensuring that there is an increase in testing rate and infected people are likely to be identified faster. The council has said that the mentor institutes will continue further review and approve the applications requesting RT-PCR based testing. Moreover, all antigen testing points have to be linked with RT-PCR facilities where “symptomatic negatives will be tested,” the report said.

The report also highlighted that the council has also requested all testing data to be uploaded on ICMR portal. This is believed to inform authorities for treatment, isolation, and quarantine regarding the number of positive cases.

Bhargava, as quoted by PTI, has said it is of absolute importance that all data is uploaded on the ICMR database so related authorities can take the necessary actions. For this, all the government and private labs that will be testing will have to obtain login credentials from the ICMR and enter the data using the given credentials.

Meanwhile, India has conducted as many as 1,24,12,664 tests for the novel Coronavirus as of July 14; per day testing capacity has also ramped up to around 1.5 lakh.

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