The Maharashtra unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has urged the state government to grant permission to qualified and registered pathologists and microbiologists to conduct antigen tests to detect Covid-19.
The state government had earlier decided to introduce rapid antigen testing of Covid-19 by ‘Standard Q Covid-19 Ag detection kit’, by SD Biosensor, South Korea, in addition to RT-PCR tests. The aim was to undertake a large number of tests at an affordable cost.
At present, these tests are being carried out at government hospitals in Mumbai and Pune, and private laboratories are also permitted to use this new method to conduct tests.
Dr Avinash Bhondwe, president of IMA’s Maharashtra unit, in a statement, said a large number of private pathology laboratories from Maharashtra, run by qualified and Medical Council-registered pathologists, applied for permission to conduct the tests. However, these laboratories were denied permission to conduct the tests as they did not fulfil the requirement of the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration of Laboratories (NABL).
The IMA’s Maharashtra unit has now appealed to the Indian Council of Medical Research and state government to remove the “unnecessary” rider of the accreditation by NABL.
If the sanction is given, then testing can be immediately carried out and results will be available in 30 minutes. This will help widen the network of testing even in remotest areas, said Dr Bhondwe. With this addition of 5,000 testing centres, it will be easy to conduct tests on residents of containment areas and hotspot regions, he added.
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