Tuesday, July 5, 2022

India starts testing flu patients ‘selectively’ as Covid numbers plateau

India has been reporting over 2,000 COVID-19 cases every day for a while now. And now the government has decided to widen the net by selectively conducting 6-8 lakh RT-PCR tests per day, as per a report by LiveMint.
It will test people with flu-like symptoms of cold, cough and fever. “Now RT-PCR testing is being done for those patients with symptoms like fever, cough and cold or with flu-like symptoms visiting at the sentinel sites such as hospitals,” said a government official who wished to remain anonymous.
After the third wave, a lot of people have rated the pandemic causing virus as ‘mild’; refusing to visit the hospitals or even test. This new strategy intends to keep a close watch on the virus and its patterns for scientists to study it closely.
The government is also known to have expanded sewage sample surveillance. “Sewage samples let us know that if cases are going to increase in any particular area, the viral load in the sample increases,” said another official. Sewage testing involves surveillance and monitoring of the sewage water or the water that we flush down the toilets.
The virus needs a host cell to survive and the technique involves looking out for the genetic material or the RNA fragments of the virus in wastewater, as per a Times of India report.
Patients who are infected release virus fragments from their bodies through urine and feces. Once flushed, the virus disintegrates and leaves fragments behind.

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