The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has stated that COVID-19 testing is a must for all who display symptoms of the disease.
Early on, concerns were raised about the pace of COVID-19 testing in India. Subsequently, authorities sought to step up the rate of testing in the country.
As of June 23rd, the ICMR reports that more than 73.5 lakh samples have been tested for COVID-19 in India. “A cumulative total of 7,352,911 samples have been tested up to June 23, with 215,195 samples being tested on Tuesday,” the Council said, adding that the number of COVID-19 testing facilities in the country now number at 1,000. Of these, 730 are run by the public sector. The remainder are privately-run.
However, the ICMR has raised continued concerns about the state of COVID-19 testing in India. This is despite the testing of 215,195 samples on Tuesday, June 23rd being the largest number of such tests conducted in a single day since the pandemic began.
“In spite of these developments, access to testing still remains a huge challenge in a large country like India,” the ICMR said. “There is a definite need to increase the outreach of testing by introducing rapid point of care diagnostic tests.”
The ICMR has now said that COVID-19 testing should be afforded to all individuals who display symptoms. “Since test, track and treat is the only way to prevent spread of infection and save lives, it is imperative that testing should be made widely available to all symptomatic individuals in every part of the country and contact tracing mechanisms for containment of infection are further strengthened,” read an ICMR-issued advisory. “ICMR advises all concerned State Governments, Public and Private Institutions to take required steps to scale up testing for COVID-19 by deploying [a] combination of various tests which includes real-time RT-PCR, rapid antigen testing for detection of cases and antibody testing for serosurvey.”
Earlier in the pandemic, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus espoused a mantra of “test, test, test.” Echoing this sentiment, the ICMR said “there is a definite need to increase the outreach of testing by introducing rapid point of care diagnostic tests. Also, there is value in conducting serosurveys with IgG based antibody tests in certain situations. In view of this, it is now suggested to include additional testing methods to improve the access and availability of testing in various parts of the country.”