Mumbai: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the apex health research body, has issued guidelines for private sector intending to initiate COVID-19 testing.
Laboratory tests should be only offered when prescribed by a qualified physician as per ICMR guidance for testing. Private laboratories should offer COVID19 diagnosis at no cost and they should ensure immediate/ real-time reporting to the State officials of IDSP (Integrated Disease Surveillance Program of Govt of India)and ICMR headquarters for timely initiation of contact tracing and research activities.
ICMR will share the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for laboratory testing and provide positive controls for establishing the test as soon as the concerned private laboratory has procured the primers, probes and reagents as per SOPs.
Adoption of commercial kits for testing should be based on validations conducted by ICMR-National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune.
Further, private laboratories will have to ensure appropriate bio safety and bio security precautions while collecting samples from a suspect patient. Alternatively, a disease specific separate collection site may be created.
ICMR is having a dialogue with high-quality private labs that includes labs accredited by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) to understand the modalities of increasing access to the test in the endeavour to prepare for future.