ICMR issued new guidelines on “Purposive Testing Strategy”.

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ICMR issued new guidelines on “Purposive Testing Strategy”.

  • Amid the rising cases of Covid-19 and its highly contagious Omicron variant, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued fresh guidelines.
  • ICMR also provided a list of who needs to get tested and who doesn't under the new rules.

What is a Purposive Testing Strategy

  • ICMR issued guidelines on who needs to get tested for the infection, and who doesn’t.
  • As per the guidelines, asymptomatic individuals, and contacts of Covid patients are not required to be tested unless identified as “high-risk individuals” based on comorbidities or age.
  • It also mentioned that at-risk contacts of patients would be persons aged above 60 years and individuals with comorbidities such as chronic lung or kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension, malignancy and obesity.

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)

  • ICMR is the apex body for formulating, coordinating and promoting biomedical research.
  • It is one among the oldest and largest medical research bodies worldwide.
  • The body is funded by the Indian Government, through the Department of Health Research under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

Which people need to be tested

In community settings :

  • Symptomatic (cough, fever, sore throat, loss of taste and/or smell, breathlessness and/or other respiratory symptoms) individuals.
  • At-risk contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases. (At-risk contacts are elderly (above 60 years of age) and individuals with co-morbidity such as diabetes, hypertension, chronic lung or kidney disease, malignancy, obesity, etc.)
  • Individuals undertaking international travel (as per country-specific requirements).
  • International travellers arriving at Indian airports/seaports/ports of entries as per laid down guidelines.

In hospital settings :

  • No emergency procedure (including surgeries and deliveries) should be delayed for lack of a test.
  • Patients should not be referred to other facilities for lack of a testing facility. All arrangements should be made to collect and transfer samples to testing facilities, mapped to the health facility.
  • Asymptomatic patients undergoing surgical/ non-surgical invasive procedures including pregnant women in/near labour who are hospitalised for delivery should not be tested unless warranted or symptoms develop.

People who need not be tested :

  • Asymptomatic individuals in community settings.
  • Contacts of confirmed cases of Covid-19 unless identified as high risk based on age or comorbidities.
  • Patients who stand discharged as per home isolation guidelines.
  • Patients being discharged from a Covid-19 facility as per revised discharge policy.
  • Individuals undertaking inter-state domestic travel.

What are the Modes of testing

  • As per ICMR, testing can be undertaken through RT-PCR, CBNAAT, True Nat, CRISPR, RT-LAMP, Rapid Molecular Testing Systems or Rapid Antigen Test.
  • Home or Self-Test and Molecular Test should be considered confirmatory, without any repeat testing.
  • Symptomatic individuals, who are testing negative on home/self-test or RAT should undertake RT-PCR test.