The Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test, considered the most accurate worldwide, will now be available for free in Delhi. Airline major SpiceJet promoter founded healthcare company SpiceHealth will set up a number of portable testing facilities across the country to make the highly sensitive RT-PCR testing readily accessible. The cost of the test is Rs 499 and it will be borne by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), an official said.
The results of the RT-PCR test will be made available to the person within just six hours from the time of sample collection as compared to the average 24-48 hours taken for similar test reports at present.
The company said that SpiceHealth and GeneStore will jointly establish mobile molecular diagnostic testing facilities across the country as a Make in India initiative. "The testing kits and laboratory facilities have been certified by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the mobile laboratories have been duly accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL)," the company said. Further, it said a significant proportion of the tests will be conducted in collaboration with agencies of the Government of India and state governments.
Earlier, the company signed a MoU with the ICMR for setting up testing facilities (laboratories) and collection centres across the nation. The first testing facility has been set up in Delhi. "Each testing laboratory will have the capacity to process 3,000 test reports a day to start with," the statement said. "Many more such testing facilities will come up in different parts of the national capital as well as the rest of the country in the coming days."
Union Home Minister Amit Shah inaugurated the first mobile testing laboratory at the ICMR, AIIMS today, in the presence of Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan, SpiceJet CMD Ajay Singh, and SpiceHealth CEO Avani Singh.
"Despite being the world's second most-affected country by Covid-19, with over 9 million reported cases so far, India has found it challenging to scale up RT-PCR testing for the virus. We are proud to be able to contribute to our country's efforts to fight this global pandemic," Avani Singh said.
"By offering this test at a fraction of the current price, ensuring a much faster turnaround time of just six hours, and deploying mobile laboratories which are easily transportable to the remotest areas, we hope to significantly scale up testing across the country," she said.