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For covid-19 testing, India arms private labs; widens diagnosis protocol

On Tuesday, India said it had initiated talks with 51 accredited private laboratories in a bid to widen the diagnosis protocol for tackling coronavirus in the country.’We are in the process of engaging private NABL [National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories] accredited laboratories for carrying out testing of Covid-19 cases,’ director-general of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) Balram Bhargava said during a press conference yesterday.’We appeal to all private laboratories to offer Covid-19 diagnosis free of cost,’ he added. The ICMR on Tuesday issued a release ‘Strategy of Covid-19 testing in India’ and laid down guidelines for private sector laboratories that intend to initiate Covid-19 testing. – As per the guidelines, lab testing should only be offered when prescribed by a qualified physician as per ICMR guidance. The latest revised version of the guidelines must be followed.- Standard operation Protocol (SOPs) will be shared by the ICMR as soon as the concerned private lab procures the primers, probes and reagents

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