The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has validated the use of TrueNat, a machine that is used to detect drug-resistant Tuberculosis, for coronavirus testing in India. It was approved by the ICMR on April 4.
The council had recommended the company’s ‘TrueNat beta COV test’ on TrueLab Workstation for screenings and had also approved US Food and Drug Administration (US-FDA) approved real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) systems like Roche Cobas-6800/800 and GeneXpert for emergency situations.
What is TrueNat?
Truenat is a small battery-operated machine. It requires minimal training expertise to operate and can easily be used in a smaller setting. The machine scans sample collected from of throat and nasal swab, which is collected by the trained technicians wearing personal protective equipment.
The TrueNat is also able to provide results under an hour and can run up to 32-48 samples of multiple diseases such as COVID-19, HIV, and TB. Additionally, the Truenat machine test would cost around Rs 1,000 – Rs 1,500.
TrueNat machines are manufactured by Molbio Diagnostics, which is planning to expand manufacturing capacity and is awaiting the government’s response over the number of machines and tests needed in each state.
Currently, Malibo Diagnostics has around 800 TrueNat machines across the country out of which 400 are in government structures.
As per the Molibo Diagnostics executive, diagnostics platforms at test centres used for TB will remain the same but there would be a need to equip centres with coronavirus test kits.
On the other hand, ICMR has also revised its testing strategy towards ‘Cluster containment’. ICMR’s new strategy includes testing in ‘hotspots/cluster’ for symptomatic cases within 7 days through rRT- PCR method and to use antibody tests after 7 days. ICMR has also allowed the use of rapid antibody testing and already ordered nearly 7 lakh test kits.
According to the ICMR’s official website, around 1.45 lakh samples from 1.3 lakh individuals have been tested. More than 6,000 positive coronavirus cases and over 200 deaths have been reported so far.