The Maharashtra government on March 31 announced a reduction in RT-PCR test rates, with a cap of Rs 500 been imposed for the tests conducted at collection centres.
If a person undergoes the RT-PCR test at a COVID centre, quarantine centre or an isolation facility, then a maximum charge of Rs 600 would be levied.
If the test samples are collected from home, the cost of RT-PCR test would not exceed Rs 800, news agency ANI reported.
The rate of rapid-antigen tests has also been capped at Rs 150, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope tweeted.
This is the sixth time the government has reduced the rate of RT-PCR tests. In December, the price was capped at Rs 700 for tests conducted at private laboratories.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
The government aims at increasing the number of daily tests as part of the "trace, test and treat" strategy. The state is facing a second wave of the coronavirus crisis, with 30,000 to 40,000 cases being reported a day over the past week.On March 31, Maharashtra reported as many as 39,544 new coronavirus cases, its second-highest single-day rise since the outbreak of pandemic in March last year. The state’s cumulative caseload has surged to 28,12,980.