The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) sought quotations earlier this week from suppliers for a million antibody kits (for screening through blood tests) and also 700,000 RNA extraction kits (the swab-based test for confirming COVID-19). As on Friday, a total of 157 laboratories were gearing up for testing — of these around 121 are government labs (109 are functioning and 12 are being operationalised) and 36 are private labs.
“India would need screenings on an extensive scale after the 21-day lockdown , period is over. The incubation period is about 15 days and the virus manifests by then. So assuming everyone stays put at home, the chances are they would only infect their immediate family members. Assuming they step out to buy groceries, there is a chance of infecting others,” explained K Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India. Rapid screening tests would then help to identify the people at risk (with high viral load) and they can be isolated.
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March 28, 2020