March 28, 2021 1:01:54 am
AFTER A private laboratory, which conducts RT-PCR testing for Covid-19, reported 78 out of 80 samples positive for the novel coronavirus on a single day, the PMC has decided to go for a third-party audit of private labs testing Covid-19 samples.
Officials from the PMC discussed the matter at the COVID-19 review meeting chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday. They said they had also sought help from Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) to check whether these labs were following the right protocols while collecting samples and testing them for SARS-CoV-2. They have also sought guidance on standardisation of Ct value (cycle threshold), an indication of the virus load present in an infected person, which is required to declare a person positive for the virus.
At the meeting, officials said a private lab, which tested referred and walk-in patients, reported 78 samples positive out of 80 that underwent testing earlier in the week. They added that this was a whopping 97.5 per cent positivity and much higher than average positivity in the district, which stands at 24.6 per cent.
“This is too high to be true. So we have decided to do a third-party audit of private labs to find out if they are following standard protocols while collecting and testing samples. We have sought the help of ICMR. During the audit, we may cross-verify results of the private labs by sending the same sample to multiple labs and check the consistency in reports,” an official said.
Most of over 16,500 samples tested daily in the PMC jurisdiction are tested by private labs. Officials said although over 3,500 positive cases were detected out of these samples every day in the PMC jurisdiction, most were asymptomatic and, in addition, lacked other markers of Covid-19.
Officials also said the PMC will also seek specified instructions from ICMR to determine what Ct value should be considered to determine positivity of a sample.
An RT-PCR test identifies a SARS-CoV-2 infection by isolating and amplifying viral RNA (ribonucleic acid) using a procedure known as polymerase chain reaction, which relies on multiple cycles of amplification to produce a detectable amount of RNA. The Ct value is the number of cycles necessary to spot the virus. The lower the Ct value, higher the virus load in the patient.
Pune stands considerably higher (24.6 per cent) in the weekly positivity rate in the state, which has an average weekly positivity rate of 21.52 per cent. Districts like Aurangabad (48.2 per cent), Jalna (38.09 per cent), Nagpur (32.2 per cent), Nashik (31.73 per cent), Osmanabad (29.7 per cent), Thane (26.98 per cent) and Akola (26.59 per cent) have a positivity rate higher than the Pune district.
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