80% of COVID-19 cases asymptomatic, it's worrisome, admits ICMR

Amid a rise in coronavirus cases in India, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Monday said that 80 percent of people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic, which is a matter of concern.

Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar, a senior scientist at ICMR told NDTV: "80 per cent of the cases are asymptomatic. Our biggest worry is on their detection. There is no other way than contact-tracing." This comes when coronavirus cases in India crossed the 17,000 mark.

According to the Union Ministry of Health and Family welfare, with 1553 new cases in 24 hours, the total tally of novel coronavirus cases stood at 17265 on Monday. The health ministry in the morning update said that, of the total cases, 14175 are active cases, with 543 casualties.

In the meanwhile, ICMR has issued an advisory and invited applications from Government and Private labs which have Cartridge Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (CBNAAT) facility.

CBNAAT is mainly used for TB and is approved by US FDA for COVID-19 testing under emergency use authorization. ICMR in its advisory stated that the specimen collection and transfer of sample for CBNAAT must be performed using appropriate PPE and following all applicable biosafety requirements.

ICMR has also said that India's COVID-19 testing capacity is expected to reach 1 lakh per day by the end of May. A total of 16 regional depots are being set up and are modelled into self-contained units by strengthening manpower, resources and infrastructure.

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