12 private labs get green signal to conduct COVID-19 tests: ICMR

By Priyanka Sharma

New Delhi [India], Mar 23 (ANI): In a significant development, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has given a green signal to 12 private laboratories across the country to conduct the coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in India.

Now, states like Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Delhi have private laboratories functional.

However, these private labs would charge customers for COVID-19 diagnostic tests. The apex medical research body has already issued guidelines for private laboratories by capping the test rates.

The maximum cost for testing samples is capped at Rs 4,500. (Rs 1,500 for screening test for likely cases and additional Rs 3,000 for confirmation test)

"Till today, we have registered at least 12 private laboratories to perform the COVID-19 diagnostic services and they have started their work from now on. All these 12 laboratories have over 15,000 laboratory chains across the country. Our work is in progress to include more laboratories soon," said Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General of ICMR.

These include Lal Path Labs from Delhi, Unipath Specialty Laboratory from Gujarat, Strand Life Sciences and SRL Limited from Haryana, CMC and Apollo Hospitals in Tamil Nadu. While Maharashtra has five laboratories which include Thyrocare Technologies Limited, Suburban Diagnostics (India) Pvt. Ltd, Metropolis Healthcare Ltd, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre, Molecular Medicine, Reliance Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd and SRL Limited.

"As far as testing kits manufacturers are concerned, we have fast-tracked approval for Indian COVID-19 testing kits for commercial use. About two manufacturers have already got the approval," Dr Bhargava said.

"This is in addition to the US FDA approved kits that are currently being used. ICMR has established a fast-track mechanism for validation for no-FDA approved kits at ICMR and NIV Pune," he added.

"Only test kits with 100 per cent concordance among true positive and true negative samples have been recommended for commercial use in India. In addition, US FDA approved kits can be used directly after due approval from DGCI and intimation to ICMR," Dr Bhargava further said.

Till today, India has reported 467 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. (ANI)