Diagnostic machines used for testing drug-resistant tuberculosis can now be used for screening and confirmation of COVID-19 cases, the apex health research body, ICMR, said. As part of its efforts to ramp up the testing capacity, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had approved the use of TrueNat system for conducting coronavirus tests on April 10, while recommending it only as a screening test.
Now, the ICMR has issued revised guidelines for TrueNat testing for COVID-1, saying the "TrueNat system is now a comprehensive assay for screening and confirmation of COVID-19 cases".
According to the guidelines, all samples of suspect COVID-19 should be first tested by the E gene screening assay. All negatives are to be considered as true negatives. All positive samples should be subjected to confirmation by another step. The step 2 is RdRp gene confirmatory assay. All samples that test positive by this assay must be considered as true positive.
"No further RT-PCR based confirmation is required for samples that are positive after step 2 of the assay," the revised guidelines stated. All positive and negative results must be reported to the ICMR portal in real time manner. The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 3,303 and the number of cases climbed to 10,6750 in the country registering an increase of 140 deaths and a record spike of 5,611 cases in the last 24 hours since Tuesday 8 am, according to the Union Health Ministry.
A total of 25,12,388 samples have been tested for coronavirus infection as on 9 am, May 20 all over the country.