GUWAHATI, April 30 - The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) is of the view that the behaviour of the people would be vital for preventing the outbreak of coronavirus in the days to come. The ICMR is also of the view that the rapid testing kits should be used only for surveillance.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Director of the ICMR, Dr Rajni Kant pointed out that India has been going much better than some other countries in the battle against coronavirus. However, he pointed out that the country would not be able to stay under lockdown for a very long time and the lockdown measures would have to be eased in the days to come. �That is when the behaviour of the people will be vital. All sections of people will have to behave in a responsible manner to prevent the spread of coronavirus. People must maintain social distance, wear masks and wash hands or use sanitizers regularly to prevent spreading of the disease,� he added.
Dr Kant said that the number of laboratories has increased within the last couple of months and so far, more than 8.30 lakh tests were carried out. The improvement of the facilities is a positive development and the number of tests carried out every day is increasing considerably, he pointed out.
Commenting on the controversy regarding the use of rapid test kits, Dr Kant said that such kits should be used only for surveillance. The ICMR is of the view that the RT-PCR throat and nasal swab tests are the best tests for detecting COVID-19. However, Dr Kant said that if COVID-19 patients are found in one particular area, surveillance tests can be carried out in such places with the rapid antibody test kits. But that is not a conclusive test and sometimes antibody tests do not detect presence of COVID 19 even after eight days of a person getting infected.
On the controversy regarding the rapid test kits prepared by Chinese companies, Dr Kant said that the kits manufactured by two Chinese companies � Guangzhou Wandfa Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics have shown wide variations and the States have been advised not to use those kits.
After a few states raised questions about the kits, the ICMR also carried out evaluation of the kits made by the two Chinese companies in field condition and it was found that the results had shown wide variations.
Dr Kant said that the ICMR has made available lists of the rapid test kits tested by the National Institute of Virology, Pune, to the State Governments and such kits can be used for surveillance by the states in the affected areas.
It may be mentioned here that as many as 292 ICMR approved laboratories in the country are now carrying out tests for COVID-19, of which, six laboratories are functioning in Assam. A number of private laboratories have also been authorized by the ICMR to carry out COVID-19 tests.