India has achieved the milestone of conducting a cumulative of 50 crore COVID-19 tests across the country, the Indian Council of Medical Research [ICMR] informed on Thursday.

“With average daily testing of more than 17 lakhs in the month of August, India has tested 50 crore samples across the country till date. India has achieved the milestone of the last 10 crore tests in only 55 days. On July 21, 2021, India had tested 45 crore COVID-19 samples, which reached 50 crore mark on August 18, 2021,” ICMR stated in a press release.

Further, ICMR said that the milestone could be achieved by rapidly increasing testing infrastructure and capacity across the country. “ICMR has been enhancing COVID-19 testing capability across the country by expanding and diversifying testing capacity by leveraging technology and facilitating innovation in affordable diagnostic kits. The testing strategy has been carefully calibrated to increase access and availability of testing,” ICMR added.

The Director General of ICMR, Prof (Dr) Balram Bhargava, said, “We have seen that exponential increase in testing led to early identification, prompt isolation and effective treatment of COVID-19 cases. This testing milestone is testimony to the fact that India has been successful in implementing the strategy of 5T approach ‘Test, Track, Trace, Treat, use of Technology’ efficiently, which will enable us to contain the spread of the pandemic.

Further, enhanced production of diagnostic kits has made India Atma Nirbhar, which has resulted in a reduction of costs and improved availability of testing kits.”

Mass testing of COVID-19 samples is being conducted in areas showing a high positivity rate, and several advancements have been made towards reducing the turnaround time of tests.

Easy-at-home self-diagnostic kits have also been developed and approved by the ICMR to empower the citizen of India for COVID-19 testing.

“Through our ardent efforts, it was ensured that a specific testing platform is made available addressing general testing (RT-PCR), High-throughput testing (COBAS), testing at remotest places and PHCs (TrueNAT, CBNAAT), in containment areas (rapid antigen testing) and for a large number of migrant population (pooled sample testing). The total number of diagnostic laboratories has reached 2876. Of which dedicated government laboratories are 1322 and private laboratories number stands at 1554,” ICMR said. (ANI)