‘Pool testing’ planned to speed up COVID-19 results
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India is all set to start the “pool testing” to speed up results, contact tracing and reduce workload on laboratories. The pooled testing method involves putting multiple swab samples together and testing them using a single RTPCR test. If that test is negative, it means that all the people tested are negative. However, if the test is positive, everyone whose samples were part of the test has to be tested separately, to identify positive individuals.

According to officials in the government, the new testing strategy will not only widen reach but will speed up results.

Pool testing has been used during large outbreaks and invisible community transmission. Researchers from Israel have demonstrated that testing combined samples from up 64 people for Covid-19 significantly sped up results and brought down cost.

Government officials say that they have been widening the testing basket and changing testing strategies to break the chain of transmission.

As reported by ET on Friday, the center has rushed a team of experts consisting of doctors, epidemiologists, microbiologists to “critical states” which are reporting an increasing number of Covid-19 cases. “The experts are tasked to conduct pool testing in these areas so as to contain the infection,” said a government official.

As per the new guideline, all symptomatic patients with influenza-like illness (fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose) will be tested. The ICMR has said to conduct RT-PCR within seven days of illness for such patients and after seven days of illness, the antibody test should be conducted followed by RT-PCR.

Source: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/healthcare/biotech/healthcare/pool-testing-planned-to-speed-up-results-cut-workload-of-labs/articleshow/75090258.cms
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