NEW DELHI: The number of RT-PCR test for detection of COVID-19 conducted in India crossed the one million mark on Saturday, ICMR officials said, as the total novel coronavirus infections rose to 37,776.
An ICMR official said that 10,40,000 tests have been conducted till Saturday evening, of which 73,709 were done since 9 am on Friday. According to the officials, testing for COVID-19 has been scaled up significantly over the last two months.
Till March 31, as many as 47,852 samples were tested while till April 30, a total of 9,02,654 samples were tested for the novel coronavirus infection, an ICMR official said. From May 1 till evening on Saturday, total 1,37,346 tests were done.
Starting with one single laboratory, the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune and having 100 laboratories in the beginning of the lockdown, the RT-PCR test facility is now available in 292 government and 97 private facilities across the country, officials said.
"The ICMR has reached a per day testing level of about 70,000 and has conducted 10,40,000 tests till Saturday evening," an official said. The RT-PCR throat/nasal swab test is the best use for diagnosis of COVID-19.
RT-PCR test detects the virus early and is the best strategy to identify and isolate the individual, the apex health research body said. Director General of ICMR Balram Bhargava recently said that the entire scientific and medical community including the private sector too has energetically risen to the occasion.
He said that a supply chain has been created. The Centre has been working with states tirelessly to ensure required reagents are supplied to testing labs in timely and calibrated fashion, enabling diversion of reagents to hotspots as needed.
"We have also decentralized the supply chain," he had said adding, "The gold standard for COVID-19 testing remains and has remained the RT-PCR test which detects the novel coronavirus. This has been our principal strategy for testing."
The central government has taken on the responsibility of assisting the state governments with testing kits, etc., and they are also free to procure, and some of the state governments are also trying to procure their supplies, the government said on Friday.
The Department of Health Research has assessed requirement of manual RT-PCR kits. As on Friday, material for about 16.4 lakh tests have been received.
Against demand of 35 lakhs combined RT-PCR kits, more than 21 lakh kits have been ordered out of which orders for 2 lakh kits are awarded to the domestic manufacturers. Close to 14 lakh kits have already been received.