Real-Time RT-PCR Panel for Detection COVID-19
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COVID-19 virus can be tested in a laboratory through a Real Time-PCR, followed by gene fingerprinting and confirmation takes about 12-24 hours. In India, 15 labs are functional for testing the novel coronavirus so far, while “ 19 will be made functional sooner”, said Union health minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan.

The test uses a nucleic acid amplification-based assay called polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and a more sensitive form called reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RTPCR).

According to WHO’s recommendations, the diagnosis of COVID-19 must be confirmed by RT-PCR or gene sequencing for respiratory or blood specimens, as the key indicator for hospitalization. Nasal and throat swabs are used as specimens for detecting coronavirus.

As new cases of coronavirus emerge, the health ministry has procured “reagents to test up to 25,000 samples have been made available,” the health minister said earlier.

The same test is used for testing HIV, H1N1, dengue, polio. “The basic procedure remains the same, except that the reagents are specific to coronavirus,” added a virologist with the government-run laboratory.

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