Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) plans to allow COVID-19 testing of babies born of mothers who have tested positive for the coronavirus. The move comes amid growing evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted from COVID-positive mother to her foetus.
A task force set up under the ICMR and the joint-monitoring group led by the Directorate General of Health Services discussed the matter at a meeting on August 26 and decided to broaden criteria for COVID-19 testing, the Economic Times reported.
"It was decided to include children in the testing basket as it has been seen that children born to COVID-positive mothers are more likely to be infected. A rapid antigen test can be carried out," ET stated, quoting a person who attended the meeting.
Moneycontrol could not independently verify the repot.
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The decision is likely to help mothers and newborns' battle against COVID’s. In India, children as young as 8-day-old have died due to the COVID-19 infection. According to UNICEF estimates, an estimated 20 million mothers and newborns will receive pregnancy and newborn care in India in the nine-month-period following declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to UNICEF estimates.
Moreover, the highest numbers of births in the nine months since the pandemic was declared are expected to take place in India, where 20.1 million babies are projected to be born between March 11 and December 16, 2020.
Meanwhile, the Union Health Ministry on August 27 recommended that all tuberculosis patients be tested for the novel coronavirus. In a document titled 'Guidance Note on Bi-directional TB-COVID Screening and Screening of TB Among ILI/SARI Cases', the Health Ministry noted that tuberculosis is associated with a 2.1-fold increased risk of severe coronavirus infection.
Reported active COVID-19 cases in India now stand at 7,42,023. As many as 25,83,948 COVID-19 patients have been cured and discharged so far. The death toll in India due to the pandemic has risen to 61,529. Total confirmed COVID-19 cases have risen to 33,87,500, according to the latest update from the Union Health Ministry.Click here for Moneycontrol's coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak