What is ‘Purposive testing strategy?

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) issued new guidelines on “Purposive Testing Strategy”, amid rising cases of covid-19 cases.

What is Purposive Testing Strategy?

  • ICMR issued guidelines on who needs to get tested for the infection, and who doesn’t.
  • As per the guidelines, asymptomatic individuals, and contacts of Covid patients are not required to be tested unless identified as “high-risk individuals” based on co-morbidities or age.
  • It also mentioned that at-risk contacts of patients would be person aged above 60 years and individuals with co-morbidities such as chronic lung or kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension, malignancy and obesity.
  • People undertaking “inter-state domestic travel are also not required to get tested.

Which people need to be tested?

  1. In community settings, following people need to be tested:
  • Symptomatic individuals
  • At-risk contacts (elderly and individual with co-morbidity) of laboratory confirmed cases.
  • Individuals undertaking international travel.
  • International travellers arriving at Indian airports or sea-ports or ports of entries.
  1. In hospital settings, following guidelines have to be followed:
  • Testing may be undertaken as per discretion of the treating doctor.
  • Emergency procedure (surgeries, deliveries etc) should not be delayed for lack of a test.
  • Patients should not be referred to other facilities, in case there is lack of testing facility.
  • Asymptomatic patients undergoing surgical or non-surgical invasive procedures or pregnant women in or near labour, should not be tested unless symptoms develop.

What are the Modes of testing?

As per ICMR, testing can be undertaken through RT-PCR, CBNAAT, True Nat, CRISPR, RT-LAMP, Rapid Molecular Testing Systems or Rapid Antigen Test. Home or Self-Test and Molecular Test should be considered confirmatory, without any repeat testing. Symptomatic individuals, who are testing negative on home/self-test or RAT should undertake RT-PCR test.

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)

ICMR is the apex body for formulating, coordinating and promoting biomedical research. It is one among the oldest and largest medical research bodies worldwide. The body is funded by Indian Government, through Department of Health Research under Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.



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