NEW DELHI: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has given its consent for initiation of COVID-19 testing in laboratories under the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).
The DBT, DST, CSIR and DAE laboratories have been advised to strictly follow ICMR guidelines before initiation of testing for coronavirus infection, an ICMR official said.
Adding a note of caution, the apex health research body said that "SARs-CoV 2 is high-risk pathogen with high transmissbility and infectivity. Sample handling at too many points and by inadequately trained staff can lead to spills and laboratory outbreaks."
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The ICMR will not provide diagnostic kits/reagents to these laboratories and laboratory test should be offered only when the sample is referred by the State Health officials or State Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP).
Since these research institutes are of eminence under other research organisations, ICMR will not conduct any site assessment nor accord approval for initiation of testing at these laboratories.
Secretary of these departments concerned may accord approval for initiation of testing as deemed appropriate, the official said, adding the responsibility of these laboratories will lie with departments concerned and not ICMR.
These testing laboratories have been asked to ensure immediate/real-time reporting to state officials of IDSP for timely initiation of contract tracing and also follow a robust institutional policy on biomedical waste management of human origin.