The outbreak of a mysterious viral infection in China towards the end of December 2019, took the global medical community by surprise. This was later identified to be severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV 2), aka COVID 19 virus - a new virus with no established testing or treatment options available
In an ideal situation, everyone should be tested for COVID 19 infection. However, given the challenges such as: humongous population, the cost and the logistics of making the equipment and reagents available at testing centres, it is practically impossible to test everyone! Keeping this in mind, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has recommended to the Government of India (GOI) the following strategy for COVID 19 testing:
In hotspots/cluster (as per MoHFW) and in large migration gatherings/ evacuees centres.
Asper ICMR note, till 14th April 2020, a total of 2,44,893 samples from 2,29,426 individuals have been tested and 10,307 individuals have been confirmed positive among suspected cases and contacts of known positive cases in India.
Soon after Wuhan was ravaged by this mysterious viral illness, a team led by Yong-Zhen Zhang, of the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre & School of Public Health, did a commendable job of mapping the COVID 19 viral genetic structure. This enabled the scientists to identify COVID 19 genetic footprints and develop specific kits to be used through Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction(RT-PCR). Incidentally, there are multiple RT PCR based tests, which are recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and WHO as the initial test for screening COVID 193. Other option is to conduct serological tests to look for specific antibodies produced by the body in response to COVID 19 viral antigens and identify the infected persons.
Indigenously developed tests for COVID 19 testing:
While there are plenty of tests developed for COVID 19 testing from other countries, it is noteworthy that some of the Indian companies have developed tests which have been approved by CDSCO.
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