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Pooled Testing advisory issued by Indian Council of Medical Research

  • IASbaba
  • April 15, 2020
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Pooled Testing advisory issued by Indian Council of Medical Research

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Governance & GS-III – Science and Technology

In News:

  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued an advisory for using pooled samples for testing of COVID-19. 

Key takeaways:

  • ICMR recommendations:
    • The number of samples should not exceed five samples at a time. This is to avoid sample dilution, which can lead to false negatives.
    • This method can be used in areas where the prevalence of COVID-19 is low, which means a positivity rate of less than 2%.
    • In areas with a positivity rate between 2 to 5%, sample pooling of PCR screening may be done among asymptomatic individuals
    • Pooling of sample is not recommended in areas or population with positivity rates of over 5%. 

Important value additions:

  • In a pooled testing algorithm, samples of multiple individuals are put together in a tube and screened through the PCR test.
  • In case the pooled test turns out to be positive, individual samples are tested, known as pool de-convolution
  • If there’s no positive result, all individual samples in the pool are regarded as negative
  • Benefits:
    • Substantial costs and testing kits are saved.
    • Pooled screening can also help in tracking down the asymptomatic cases, thereby helps in tracking community transmission. 

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)

  • It is the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research
  • It is one of the oldest and largest medical research bodies in the world. 
  • The ICMR is funded by the Government of India through the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. 

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