With the milestone of one lakh tests per day being achieved, the government is now developing a strategy to further increase the capacity. Infrastructure is currently being developed to enhance the testing capacity up to 2 lakh tests per day in the coming days. There are 609 testing labs across the country as of now. It includes 431 public and 178 private labs. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is continuously scaling up its testing facilities for COVID-19 by giving approval to government and private laboratories.
ICMR has already expanded its testing criteria to include returnee migrants and other frontline workers. Apart from the RT-PCR test, many states working on tuberculosis (TB) elimination programs have also deployed TrueNAT machines for coronavirus testing. It is a battery operated machine that can test two samples simultaneously and provide results between 60 and 90 minutes. The machines are being used to conduct testing in such areas and districts where modern virological labs don't exist.
States such as Bihar, Jharkhand, Odhisha, Andhra, Tamil Nadu and others have started using this machine. The diagnostic capacities have been scaled by states such as Bihar (17 testing labs), Odisha (17), Uttar Pradesh (27) and West Bengal (36) . As of now, 104 TrueNAT and 54 CBNAAT testing machines are being used for coronavirus testing
Apart from that, ICMR is also working on using ELISA for coronavirus testing. The government has also installed COBAS 8800 machines in states such as Delhi, West Bengal and Bihar, that can test between 1,400 to 4,000 samples daily.
Meanwhile, India has recorded the highest ever spike of 6,977 COVID-19 cases and 154 deaths in India in the last 24 hours. Total number of cases in the country now at 1,38,845, including 77,103 active cases, 57,720 cured or discharged and 4,021 deaths, says the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare's latest data.