The government is planning to reduce the price of coronavirus tests at private hospitals and diagnostic centres to make it affordable for the masses.
Earlier in March, the government capped the price at Rs 4,500 for the private testing. However, in May, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) removed the price cap and asked states and union territories to negotiate with private labs to reach a "mutually agreeable" price.
At present, Telangana Delhi, Maharashtra and Rajasthan governments have capped the cost of COVID-19 test at Rs 2,200 at private labs. Whereas, West Bengal has capped the cost of COVID-19 testing to Rs 2,250 at private laboratories.
The ICMR is now considering a mandatory cap on coronavirus testing prices pan-India, Mint reported. ICMR Director-General Dr Balram Bhargava said, "We are contemplating a price cap for testing, considering that no individual should be deprived. Only through increased testing will we be in a better position to defeat this virus". Bhargava added that he did not want the private sector to play a bigger role in expanding the testing in India.
With 786 government labs and 314 private labs, there are as many as 1,100 labs in India. So far, as many as 97,89,066 have been tested in the country.
India has registered 6.73 lakh cases of coronavirus, including 2.44 lakh active cases, 4.09 recoveries, and 19,268 death, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data.
Amid the surge in cases, India is working to fast-track the development of coronavirus vaccine. The Drug Controller General of India, CDSCO (the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation) have given their nod to conduct human trials for Indian COVID-19 vaccine candidates COVAXIN and ZyCov-D. Covaxin is being developed by the company Bharat Biotech India (BBIL) in collaboration with ICMR's National Institute of Virology (NIV).