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UP gets clearance for pool testing for COVID-19

In the pool testing method, multiple samples of swabs are pooled together and tested. Applying this process will help in fastening the diagnosis of COVID-19.

Apr 15, 2020 14:22 IST
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Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has given clearance to Uttar Pradesh to start pool testing for COVID-19. The state has become the first in the country that will attempt this method.

In the pool testing method, multiple samples of swabs are pooled together and tested. Applying this process will help in fastening the diagnosis of COVID-19.

Principle Secretary of UP stated that the government was still deciding on the protocol to use this method and the implementation had to be started from April 14. Maharashtra has become another state to get permission from ICMR for this testing method.

What is Pool Testing Method?

Pool testing of sample collections is done using a single RTPCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction).

Under this method, multiple swab samples are pooled together and are tested. If the result of these samples comes negative, it signifies that all the samples in the group are negative. But if the result of even one collection is found positive, then each of those samples will be tested individually.

Pool testing method: Key Highlights

•  The method will be beneficial for India which is struggling with testing kits as well as the infrastructure. It will also scale up COVID-19 screening while optimising resources.

•  This method has been used during invisible community transmission and large outbreaks.

•  Researchers in Israel also observed that testing the combined samples from up to 64 people for COVID-19 had fastened the screening process and brought down the cost we well.

Testing Infrastructure in UP:

Uttar Pradesh has currently 10 existing labs and is testing around 2000 samples per day. The state is also adding 14 new labs that will ramp up the screening infrastructure.

550 cases were recorded in UP till Sunday. Out of this 47 have been cured and discharged. There is a total of 5 reported deaths in the state. Pilibhit which reported a total of 2 cases of COVID-19, as per the reports they both have been cured and there are no new cases.

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