Guidelines issued For Private Labs To Test COVID-19, Price Fixed At Rs. 4,500
The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has released guidelines for private laboratories to starting conducting tests for novel coronavirus. Also, the central government has fixed the maximum price for the test.
ICMR guidelines for COVID-19 testing by private labs
Labs notified by the Union Health Ministry and with NABL accreditation for real-time PCR SA for RNA virus would be allowed to conduct COVID-19 tests said ICMR in its guidelines.
The private labs were asked to ensure appropriate biosafety and biosecurity precautions while collecting respiratory samples of suspected patients. ICMR suggested home collection of samples that will prevent suspected persons from travelling and infecting others.
Commercial kits for real-tome PCR-based diagnosis of coronavirus are also allowed to use but they should be either US FDA approved or European CE certified or both. These kits could be used for in-vitro diagnosis of COVID-19 in emergent conditions. But it is necessary to intimate the Drug Controller General of India before using these kits.
Laboratory test of a suspect should be performed only when a qualified physical prescribes the test. And the lab staff should be trained in good practices to perform real-time PCR. Also, the laboratories must follow national guidelines on disposing the biomedical waste.
COVID-19 test cost and reporting
ICMR will give registration numbers to private labs. Also, the labs are asked to report the details of a test to ICMR headquarters data base. The price determined for COVID-19 test is 1,500 for preliminary screening and additional 3,000 for confirmation test. But the overall cost shouldn’t exceed to Rs. 4,500.