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COVID-19 testing | ICMR issues new guidelines for RT-PCR, RAT

May 04, 2021 / 10:02 PM IST

The need for RT-PCR test in healthy individuals undertaking inter-state domestic travel may be completely removed to reduce the load on laboratories, the guidelines say.

As laboratories face challenges to meet the expected COVID testing target, The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued fresh guidelines for Covid-19 testing on May 4.

As India battles the surging COVID-19 cases in its deadly second wave, laboratories are finding it challenging to consistently test samples. Against this backdrop, the ICMR has now has issued fresh guidelines for COVID-19 testing regarding RT-PCR and RAT tests.

According to the new guidelines issued, an "RT-PCR test must not be repeated in any individual who has tested positive once either by RAT or RT-PCR". Moreover, recovered individuals who get discharged from hospitals will not require another round of testing, the ICMR said.

Further, the ICMR also seeks to remove mandatory negative RT-PCR test reports for healthy individuals undertaking inter-state domestic travel.

"The need for RT-PCR test in healthy individuals undertaking inter-state domestic travel may be completely removed to reduce the load on laboratories," the guidelines read.

COVID-19 Vaccine
Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

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There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

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Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
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However, it added that non-essential travel or inter-state travel of symptomatic individuals should be avoided. Whereas all asymptomatic individuals undertaking essential travel must follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour, the guidelines added.

As of May 4, the overall nationwide test positivity rate has gone up above 20 percent in the past month and India currently has 2,506 molecular testing laboratories, including RT-PCR, TrueNat, CBNAAT, and other platforms,

India on May 4 reported a slight dip in single-day COVID-19 cases as it registered 3,57,229 new infections in the last 24 hours. The daily spike had reached its peak of over four lakh cases on May 1 but came down to 3,68,147 cases on May 3. With this, India's overall COVID-19 caseload has surged to 2,02,82,833.

Moneycontrol News
first published: May 4, 2021 10:01 pm
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