Centre deploys TB platform to ramp up COVID-19 tests

Centre deploys tuberculosis testing platform TrueNAT to ramp up COVID-19 tests

Representative image/istock

With COVID-19 cases rising at a faster pace, the Centre has fallen back upon its extensive tuberculosis testing facilities to ramp up testing for SARS CoV-2 virus.

The TrueNat machines have been extensively used across almost every district for conducting tests for tuberculosis, prevalence for which is high in the country.

With migrant workers returning in huge numbers in states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha, the TrueNat machines prove to be an important resource to ramp up tests for COVID-19 and be cost effective as well.

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The biosafety and biosecurity requirements for TrueNat machines are also minimal, which make them an ideal tool for mass deployment.

“Out testing outreach has increased significantly as the TrueNat platform is available even as primary health centre levels,” Nivedita Gupta, senior scientist Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) said.

On Friday, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister beefed up COVID-19 testing in the state by deploying TrueNat machines in each of the 75 districts as well as medical colleges.

The Jharkhand government has also ordered additional TrueNat machines to add to its testing capabilities.

ICMR had earlier granted approval for use of TrueNat machines for screening tests for COVID-19. Recently, it also validated the confirmatory tests that could be conducted using the TrueNat machines.

Truenat was developed by the Indian firm MolBio Diagnostics Pvt Ltd Goa for the detection of TB bacteria. It was used not only for rapid detection of TB bacteria but also helped in detecting drug-resistant TB bacteria.

More recently, the TrueNat machines were also used for detecting the Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala.

India has crossed the three-lakh mark of confirmed cases of COVID-19 with a spike of 11,458 cases on Saturday. There are 3,08,993 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in India, of which 1,54,330 have recovered and discharged from hospitals and 8,884 have succumbed to the disease.

India has ramped up testing for COVID with ICMR testing 55.07 lakh samples of which 1,43,737 were tested on Friday.