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ICAR Labs May Soon Provide COVID 19 Testing Kits

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

Dr Trilochan Mohapatra, Director General, ICAR recently sent a proposal to the Union Ministry of Health and to ICMR that the four laboratories of ICAR involved in the Animal Husbandry Research and Development are capable to conduct 520 tests related to the Corona Virus. The proposal is “If the Government wants, then all the four laboratories are capable of doing 520 tests per day. Capacity can be increased, if demands increases.” 

 Where the tests can be done immediately, the laboratories are: The National Research Centre on Equine (NRCE), Hissar; National Institute of High Security Animal Disease (NISHAD); Bhopal: National Institute of Veterinary Epidemiology and Disease Informatics (NIVEDI), Bengaluru; and Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly. 

 Dr Mohapatra further elaborated that the Coronavirus testing has only two different components which can be combined with old kit, making the test kit compatible for the testing of the coronavirus. 

Two South Korean firms, Seegene and SD Biosensor have received government approval to supply RT-PCR based Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnostic kits in India. The government also approved 12 rapid antibody test kits for COVID-19 diagnosis. Seven of them are Chinese companies. Overall, 16 companies can now market their test kits in the country. 

The advantage of antibody rapid tests is that the result can be made available within 30 minutes. The test comes positive after 7 to 10 days of infection. While positive test indicates exposure to COVID-19, negative does not rule out the infection. 

Currently the RT-PCR probes for diagnosis of COVID-19 are procured from the USA and supplied to government testing laboratories across the country. Recently the Government had allowed two private companies - Indian company MyLab and German firm Altona Diagnostics - to supply COVID-19 test kits to both government as well as private testing laboratories in India. 

Thirteen kits have failed to clear the validation requirement of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and may have to try again for marketing approval for their test kits in India. 

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