Diagnostic machines used for testing drug-resistant tuberculosis can now be used for screening and confirmation of COVID-19 cases, the apex health research body, ICMR, said.
As part of its efforts to ramp up the testing capacity, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had approved the use of TrueNat system for conducting coronavirus tests on April 10, while recommending it only as a screening test.
Now, the ICMR has issued revised guidelines for TrueNat testing for COVID-1, saying the “TrueNat system is now a comprehensive assay for screening and confirmation of COVID-19 cases”.
According to the guidelines, all samples of suspect COVID-19 should be first tested by the E gene screening assay. All negatives are to be considered as true negatives.
All positive samples should be subjected to confirmation by another step. The step 2 is RdRp gene confirmatory assay. All samples that test positive by this assay must be considered as true positive.
“No further RT-PCR based confirmation is required for samples that are positive after step 2 of the assay,” the revised guidelines stated. All positive and negative results must be reported to the ICMR portal in real time manner.
Meanwhile A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday observed that the Central government would consider the request of the State government to conduct reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests for expatriates before allowing them to board flights to the country.
The Bench comprising Justice Anu Sivaraman and Justice M.R. Anitha, while closing a public interest litigation in this regard, observed that it had no doubt that proper procedures would be put in place and revised in a time-bound manner by the Central government after considering the situation prevalent and taking note of the requests made by individual States, besides expert medical advice and the available relevant data.