Uttar Pradesh to begin pool testing for Covid-19 to expedite process

Uttar Pradesh has obtained clearance from the ICMR to begin "pool testing" becoming the first in the country to try this method which aims to speed Covid-19 testing.

by Niranjani Jesentha Kumari Prabagararaj

Updated: Apr 13, 2020 20:21 IST

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ICMR permitted the state to start pool testing

"The ICMR permitted the state to start pool testing. Multiple swab samples are pooled and checked in this process. If the outcome of collecting samples is negative, this means that all samples in that group are negative.

However, if the result of one collection is found to be positive, then each of those samples will be checked individually, "said UP in the daily briefing on Monday, Amit Mohan Prasad, Principal Health Secretary.

"We are still deciding to use this method on the protocol, and we plan to start implementing it from Tuesday," Prasad said.

Sample collection pool testing is conducted using a single RTPCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) and used during large outbreaks and invisible community transmission.

Israel researchers have shown that testing combined samples of up to 64 individuals for Covid- 19 fastened the screening cycle and also brought down costs. Maharashtra is another state which has sought ICMR's permission to use this test method in the state.

For India, which struggles with both test kits and infrastructure, the move could go a long way in scaling up tests while leveraging resources. UP currently has 10 operating laboratories throughout the state, which tests approximately 2,000 samples daily. To ramp up its research facilities it is building 14 new labs.

UP has recorded 550 cases of which 47 have been cured or discharged till Sunday. A total of 5 fatalities. Prasad also said that both were cured in Pilibhit-which had reported a total of two cases and that no new cases were identified. 

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