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ICMR checking the possibility of third stage of COVID-19 spread in India

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on March 17, 2020 Published on March 17, 2020

The Indian Council of Medical Reserach (ICMR) in New Delhi.   -  VV Krishnan

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has started collecting random samples of people who display flu-like symptoms in order to check whether India is witnessing community transmission of the novel coronavirus. The sample result will come on Wednesday, Economic Times reported.

According to the ET report, the 51 centres of the ICMR located across the country have picked up samples of patients with severe respiratory illness (SARI) from the intensive care of the hospitals to conduct the test.

Currently, India is on stage two of the coronavirus transmission, where the number of cases is rising unprecedently every day. The ICMR is checking if the possibility of India entering the third stage is high or low. The third stage transmission affects the community as a whole even when a person does not have any exposure to coronavirus-hit nations.

According to Dr. Raman R. Gangakhedkar, head of the Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases-I (ECD-I), Division, Indian Council of Medical Research cited in the Hindu report, the doctors under him are testing the collected samples and so far there is no evidence for the need to go in for mass testing. He added that India started taking proactive action by January 17 whereas the first case of coronavirus was reported by the end of January. The country had diligently taken early measures to contain the deadly disease.

Currently, 63 laboratories (62 Virus Research and Diagnostic Laboratories and 1 National Centre for Disease Control) are in operation to test COVID-19, and nine laboratories are expected to start operating shortly.

The ICMR also mentioned that it has ordered a million probes from Germany to ensure that all laboratories in the country are ready for sample testing if needed, Hindu report added.

Gangakhedkar added that there is no evidence so far that a large section of people can get re-infected by the virus. He also noted that since the virus has not seen many seasons, doctors don’t know if it will be killed in high temperatures or survive it, as per the Hindu report.

Published on March 17, 2020
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