As part of its efforts to ramp up the testing capacity, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved the use of diagnostic machines used for testing drug-resistant tuberculosis for conducting coronavirus tests.
The ICMR has validated 'TruenatTM beta CoV test on TruelabTM workstation' and has recommended it as a screening test, the apex health research body said on Friday.
Issuing a guidance on the use of Truenat beta CoV, the ICMR said throat/nasal swabs will be collected in the viral transport medium (VTM) with virus lysis buffer provided along with the kit.
"Earlier studies have shown that virus lysis buffer neutralizes Nipah and H1N1 viruses. The results of stability of viral RNA after neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 by virus lysis buffer are awaited from ICMR-NIV, Pune.
"Till such time, Truenat beta CoV test should only be performed with all biosafety precautions in BSL-2 or BSL-3 setups at laboratories," it said.
The revised guidelines will be issued once the results from ICMR-NIV, Pune are available, it said.
The death toll due to the novel coronavirus rose to 199 and the number of cases climbed to 6,412 in the country on Friday, according to the Union Health Ministry.
However, a PTI tally of figures reported by various states as on Thursday showed at least 6640 cases and 227 deaths.
There has been a lag in the Union Health Ministry figures, compared to the number of cases announced by different states, which officials attribute to procedural delays in assigning the cases to individual states.