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Results in, no community has spread so far | India News


NEW DELHI: In a relief to authorities monitoring Covid-19, all 820 randomly collected samples from people suffering from severely acute respiratory infection have tested negative, providing scientific evidence that community transmission of the disease has not yet occurred. has manifested itself.

The process of collecting samples from people who are not in the “risk zone” of those who have traveled abroad or who have been in contact with said people will continue. The possibility of community spread, when the virus is detected in a patient who has not been abroad or in contact with that person, remains, leaving no room for complacency.

“All 820 randomly collected samples have tested negative and do not indicate any community transmission. However, we will increase our sample numbers and continue to monitor for further spread, “a senior official and scientist at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) told TOI.

The results are crucial because they are part of a scientific evaluation to assess whether the virus has been spread through community transmission. “We are not exactly ruling out community transmission, but the fact that these samples have tested negative is reassuring that there is currently no evidence to indicate a community outbreak,” the official added.

The government has decided to allow certain private laboratories to test even when officials said the WHO’s call for more tests was not country-specific and noted that close vigilance was kept on any increase in Covid-19 cases (within current test criteria) and in general admissions for patients with severe respiratory diseases, signs that may indicate a wider spread.

While randomized tests are being evaluated, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan conducted a review Wednesday on containment and handling of the new coronavirus, and teams were ordered to regularly inspect and monitor quarantine facilities to ensure they are provided. the necessary services. The move came after reports of Indian citizens returning to their homes complaining about the poor condition of the facilities.

ICMR had previously said that between 1 and 15 March around 1,040 samples were collected through its 52 laboratories (each with 20 random samples) from patients admitted to the ICU in various hospitals, including private ones, due to a influenza-like illness to assess whether the virus infected those who have no history of traveling abroad or have been in contact with people who have

“Some of our laboratories informed us that the references were not sufficient to make all the samples. Therefore, some of them collected less than 20 samples. So we could test only 820 in this lot, “said the official.

As part of ongoing surveillance, ICMR will collect random samples from people with SARI but without any travel history on a weekly basis. A total of 121 laboratories will be operational soon for this purpose. Each laboratory, in medical colleges across the country, has the capacity to analyze 90 samples per day.

ICMR randomized tests to verify community transmission run in parallel to tests and monitoring of symptomatic travelers and their contacts. Currently, the total capacity for more than 70 laboratories in operation together with the National Institute of Virology, Pune, is 8,000 samples per day. However, these labs are making around 500 samples every day.

Health ministry officials said India is still in Stage II with limited localized transmission and there is no need for community testing. “Unnecessary testing will create unnecessary panic. Furthermore, the government is taking a gradual approach to optimally use our resources, ”said an official.

According to current testing protocols, only those with any symptoms (cough, fever, or shortness of breath) and who have a history of travel to any of the countries affected by Covid-19 or those who have been in contact with a positive case confirmed, they qualify for the test.

However, the government has already begun to speed up its preparations for the risk of community transmission and the community testing it may require by ordering a million additional test kits, in addition to expanding the network of test laboratories.

There are four stages to a disease outbreak: Stage I is usually when cases are imported and not locally sourced. Stage II is when there is a local transmission of reported cases, which means that a section of people who are testing positive must have been in contact with a positive laboratory person who had a travel history. There may be a single case or local groups of positive cases in stage II.

Stage III is community transmission, in which scientists working to contain the outbreak cannot determine the source of the infection. A person tests positive without any travel history or contact history with a positive laboratory case.

The last stage IV is when the outbreak is declared an epidemic, where it has spread throughout the country and the cases return positive one after another in large numbers without any information on the source of infection. India is currently in Stage II of the outbreak, which experts say may be locally contained.

Times of India