The ICMR has allowed states to take help of local laboratories and not just depend on the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL)-accredited facilities to carry out the rapid antigen tests.
As many as 1,751 laboratories in the country are currently conducting tests. “Every state has the right to take a decision on the rapid antigen tests, as it does not require a sophisticated laboratory setting,” a senior Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) official said on Friday.
“The first Covid-19 swab sample was tested on January 23 at the ICMR laboratory. Now, we have 1,751 laboratories — 1,059 are run by the government and 692 are private facilities,” the official said. On an average, the country is conducting one million tests a day to diagnose Covid-19 cases for the past three weeks.
Maharashtra health officials stated that they have left it to the local authorities’ discretion to use the private laboratories for ramping up the tests. State director of health Archana Patil said, “The local administration can decide and coordinate with the laboratories to carry out the tests. This will ease the pressure on the regular laboratories.”
Public health expert R Jotkar said, “The test positivity in Maharashtra is around 20%. This calls for more testing till the positivity lowers below 10%.”- Acqro