HYDERABAD: India needs to ramp up Covid-19 testing by roughly 10 times — at least one million samples daily — to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
This was stated on Monday by Rakesh Mishra, the director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), during a video conference with
governor Tamilisai Sounderajan and others.
Between 1.15 lakh and 1.5 lakh people have been tested daily across the country between June 10 and 14, according to figures provided by the Union health ministry. “It (testing) should be more than one lakh and can be one million per day,” Mishra said during the conference.
Later, in an interaction with TOI, he said that testing is essential as demonstrated in
, the Mumbai mega slum, where the infection is being controlled with increased testing.
“One million tests per day is possible but by using different technologies of testing,” Mishra added. “In the RT PCR method, the result time is eight hours if everything is meticulously followed. The
isolation process takes a lot of time. In other methods, the isolation of RNA is not required and therefore the result time is only half that of the RT PCR test.”
Several prestigious institutes, including CCMB, have developed such models. “We are seeking permission for our models. The government can even try next generation testing technologies where 10,000 tests can be done at a time, but they are useful only when a large number of tests (pooling of tests for example in a containment zone) are to be done because of the cost,” the CCMB director said.
According to Mishra, the cost of tests will also come down slowly.
He also said that there are no “less dangerous” or “more dangerous” strains of the virus in the country and that the overall mortality of Indian “is much less”.
Speaking at the conference, former Union health secretary, K Sujata Rao said, “It is surprising to see that despite having the best medical and health infrastructure in the state, extensive testing wasn’t done in Telangana earlier. It is good that the state has now decided to increase testing,” she said.
Telangana does not make public the number of tests it conducts. Chief minister
K Chandrasekhar Rao
had, however, said on Sunday that his government would soon test 50,000 people in 30 assembly constituencies in and around Hyderabad.