Coronavirus Update: Health Ministry issues guidelines for RT-PCR pool testing
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) on Thursday issued guidelines for RT-PCR based pooled sampling for migrants and those returning from abroad and kept in quarantine facilities.
"The following guideline is in pursuance of letter of Secretary, MoHFW dated May 12, 2020, on the subject. A decision has been taken to use one time RT-PCR based pooled sampling for surveillance purposes for migrant workers in institutional quarantine facilities, international passengers in institutional quarantine facilities/hotels ear-marked for quarantine, and for surveillance purposes in green zones," the document read.
The following guidelines would be followed for the pooling of samples: A cohort of 25 people will be identified. Throat/nasal swab will be collected following laid down protocol trained laboratory personnel under appropriate protective gear (apron, hand glove, face-shield/goggles, N-95 mask), as per ICMR protocol.
Proper labelleing (name/age/gender/specimen ID) needs to be done on specimen container.
The guidelines stated that 25 such samples of such a cohort would be packed in triple layer packaging and will be transported to the identified laboratory under cold chain as per ICMR guidelines. The outer container mentioning "be tested for SARS-CoV-2" will also bear the details of sender (name/address/phone number).
The samples will be aliquoted and therefore pooled samples from 25 specimens shall be tested in the laboratory by RT-PCR method.
The report will be conveyed to the quarantine/concerned facility within 24 hours. If any of the pooled samples test positive, individual samples would be tested from the aliquoted samples preserved in the laboratory.