To Test or Not to Test: COVID-19, India, and the Controversy about Testing (In)adequacy

COVID-19 testing in India

2 Responses

  1. a acharya says:

    Dear Shashikiran, This is a nice review of the current Indian scenario. Do you think following the same steps when the lockdown is lifted is possible or enough to prevent the rise in cases?? After all, there is no innate immunity for this virus. Unless a highly effective vaccine is found and administered, most of the population will have to get the infection and then face the consequences, i.e., recover or succumb. How would contact tracing work with this humongous population? I have heard of the Health bridge software. I hope it is effective.

    Best wishes,

    Dr. A Acharya, MD, MRCP, FRCPCH, Retired Consultant Paediatrician UK.

    • Dear Dr. Acharya, as you have correctly noted, this is a review of the scenario so far. Strategies need to evolve as per the prevailing situation; until now, what has been done is justifiable and has been effective, considering our resources and population.

      Lockdown will only be lifted gradually and in phases. Besides, the division of districts and areas into green, orange, red, and containment zones has also been implemented. Such a plan helps in focusing our attention on areas that need more intense testing, followed by appropriate resource utilization. Arogya Setu (translated as Health Bridge) app is also functional for patients and that has been made mandatory in containment zones.

      Coupled with this, in Karnataka, the government has opened an online portal from today – for real-time reporting of ALL ILI, SARI, and COVID-19 cases by ALL doctors (private and public, including AYUSH doctors). Since it takes just 20-30 seconds to enter one patient’s simple data, this will improve information flow, enabling the health and administration systems to identify areas that are experiencing higher ILI/SARI cases and start testing there too.

      I have alluded to such a phase-wise expansion of testing in the article, and that strategy is continuing. However, until an effective vaccine is ready, the future is uncertain.

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