Headlines March 21, 2020
Coronavirus in India: Private lab tests may start next week
India has plans to scale up testing for coronavirus or Covid-19. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is set to give 51 private hospitals and laboratories permission to start testing for the viral disease. So far, it has infected 173 people and killed four.
In Delhi-NCR, testing will be available in diagnostics labs at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, Medanta-The Medicity and Dr Lal Path Labs, among others, which have the expertise and the infection-control measures needed to diagnose the virus.
Fifty-one labs have been identified for testing and this will add to the 72 government laboratories already testing for the coronavirus.
Another 49 government labs run by government-run institutions will start testing by the end of this week, according to the Union Health Ministry. That will take the total number of laboratories testing for the disease to 172.
The quality of the laboratory is important because we have to be very sure they aren’t sending out false positives or false negatives. – Lav Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health Ministry
The private labs will follow the testing criteria set by ICMR and will have to notify all positive cases to the ministry of health and family welfare.
“We will be happy to work with government and work at the cost fixed by government”, said Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman, Medanta-The Medicity, which is one of the hospitals in talks with the government for private testing. “The private sector has worked closely with the government in the past, such as during the H1N1 outbreak and dengue outbreaks, to test more people and save lives. We are in the final stages of talks and there is agreement on pricing”.
India has placed orders for one million testing kits from Germany and a request with WHO for another million probes.
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