Dr Balram Bhargava addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Dr Balram Bhargava addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Private NABL accredited labs to be operationalised for COVID-19 diagnosis: ICMR

ANI | Updated: Mar 17, 2020 17:35 IST


New Delhi [India], Mar 17 (ANI): Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday said that private NABL accredited laboratories will be operationalised soon for COVID-19 diagnosis and also appealed them to offer the testing free of cost.
Addressing a press conference here, Dr Balram Bhargava, Director-General, ICMR said: "We already know that we are in stage 2. We are not in stage 3, clearly as of now. There are 4 stages. 3rd stage is community transmission which we hope we shouldn't have. It would depend on how strongly we close our international borders, in terms of which govt has taken very proactive steps. But can't say that community transmission won't happen."
"Currently the laboratory expansion of ICMR is engaged, we are expanding our number of laboratories and as we speak, today we have 72 functional laboratories in ICMR system. We have also engaged non-ICMR, Ministry of Health, govt laboratories include CSIR, DRDO, DBT, govt medical colleges, we have 49 of those labs which will start testing by the end of this week," he said.
Bhargava said that ICMR is also engaging with high-quality private laboratories that include NABL accredited laboratories, to understand the modalities to increase access to the tests while ensuring appropriate safeguards.
"ICMR appeals to all private laboratories to offer COVID-19 diagnosis free of cost. If they have come forward for help in a national crisis, it would be appreciated," he said.

Bhargava continued: "We are also operationalizing high-quality private laboratories that include NABL accredited laboratories to understand the modalities, to increase the test while ensuring appropriate safeguards."
"We are also operationlising through 2 high-throughput systems which are the rapid testing laboratories. They will be operationalised in 2 locations and they can test up to 1400 samples per day in those labs. We are operationlising them by the end of this week," he said.
Bhargava said that ICMR has already placed orders for 1 million probes, reagents and primers are unlimited. "We have also requested WHO to provide us 1 million probes," he said.
He said that all asymptomatic patients who have taken international travel should be home quarantine for 14 days. "They should be tested only if they become symptomatic with fever, cough and difficulty in breathing. If the test is positive, they should be isolated and treated as per standard protocol," he said.
Speaking further, Bhargava said: "All contacts of laboratory-confirmed positive cases. They should stay quarantined for 14 days. They should be tested immediately if they become symptomatic with fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing." (ANI)

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