Pooled Testing advisory issued by Indian Council of Medical Research
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Governance & GS-III – Science and Technology
- The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued an advisory for using pooled samples for testing of COVID-19.
- 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.
- 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.