The cases of coronavirus in India are on the rise, and to meet these demands of tests around the country, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has taken a necessary step.
On Monday, they revealed that 10 more private laboratories will be given the permission to test for COVID-19.
This includes labs like Dr Lal PathLabs, Dr Dangs Lab and Indraprastha Apollo Delhi in the capital, making the total number of labs 16. Apart from these labs in New Delhi, two Tamil Nadu-based labs, Department of Clinical Virology, CMC, Vellore, and Department of Laboratory Services, Apollo Hospitals, Chennai have been given permission.
Mumbai-based SRL Limited, Haryana-based Strand Life Sciences and SRL Limited, Gujarat-based Supratech Micropath Laboratory & Research Institute and Apollo Hyderabad in Telangana were also approved to carry out tests.
In a statement before approving four more labs on Monday, ICMR director general Dr Balram Bhargava said that they are looking at the requests they have at hand.
Our experts are looking at the lab requests and giving approvals in batches. As of today, 12 private labs have been approved that will increase the collection and testing capacity. These 12 lab chains put together have about 15,000 collection centres across India.
- ICMR director general Dr Balram Bhargava
However, ICMR hasn't yet expanded its criteria for the people who can take the test. Even now, only those with travel history and symptoms, or people in direct contact with positive cases can get their test done.
We have been given approval for testing, and we will totally be following the ICMR guidelines; only those with prescription issued by a qualified doctor will be tested.
- Dr Naveen Dang, founder, Dr Dangs Lab, Delhi.
ICMR notifies detailed guidelines for #Covid_19 testing by private labs.— PIB India (@PIB_India) March 22, 2020
Maximum cost should not exceed Rs 4,500 - Rs 1,500 for screening test for suspect cases & additional Rs 3,000 for confirmation test
ICMR, however, has urged free or subsidized testing by private labs pic.twitter.com/2alVhwoVG4
According to the guidelines given to private labs, the maximum cost of the tests should not exceed Rs 4,500 - Rs 1,500. But they have encouraged free or subsidised testing.