New Delhi: A governmental panel dealing with Covid-19 testing and surveillance has asked the health ministry to enhance testing capacity and get state governments to ease the process of registering phlebotomists.
There is a need to ramp up testing facilities and the Indian Council of Medical Research should expedite the process of granting approvals to labs, a senior official aware of the matter told ET. The panel recommended on May 22 that the health ministry activate all 135 tuberculosis-detection labs and 30 antibody testing labs by Abbott and use them for Covid-19 testing.
It also directed the Central TB division of the health ministry to install Truenat diagnostic machines in West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha. The empowered group has suggested that the ministry expedite 58 requests for approval of testing labs. Private labs have the capacity to carry out 65,000 tests per day but only 14,000 are being conducted.
The states have been asked to facilitate access to an adequate number of samples and ease the process of registering phlebotomists, the technicians who draw blood samples from patients, the official said. Meanwhile, the health ministry is considering the procurement of half a million CBNAAT cartridges, in addition to an order placed for the purchase of 100,000 cartridges, the official said.