Highlights

  • Lack of safety measures in private labs; Staff were not wearing PPE; Safety Cabinets were not available and poor hygienic conditions.
  • There is clear evidence that the staff conducting the Tests have not been trained properly in RTPCR testing for COVID-19.
  • Measures for Quality Control and Validation of Tests were not followed in some of the Labs.

Hyderabad: Telangana's health bulletin on June 26th, revealed few startling facts about the private labs conducting COVID tests, besides reporting another new highest single-day-jump. The state with 985 new COVID cases reported on Friday, crossed 12,000 mark in a span of 24 hours. While seven more have succumbed to the virus, taking the death toll to 237.

However, what grabbed the focus in the health bulletin was the discrepancies detected in the medical reports submitted by the private labs. The led blew of when the state government officials conducted an inspection across labs. "The committee expressed a suspicion that, in some labs pooled testing being done.The labs are not conducting individual test, but pooled and reporting all positive. This is resulting in few negative patients being tested positive. This will be studied by experts using the amplification plots generated by RTPCR machine. It is also suspected that there is possibility of contamination of samples leading to high positivity rate because safety measures and protocols are not followed meticulously" read the bulletin.

The committee also found disparity in the data entered by private labs into ICMR and State Portals."At one of the Labs in a major hospital, the actual number of tests conducted were 3,940 but they have uploaded only 1,568 tests and shown 475 as positive. This is resulting in high positivity rate. The tendency of some of the private labs is a matter of grave concern as it not only gives false positive reports but also puts other patients visiting these centres and the staff under the threat of spread of COVID-19" the health officials said.

The committee that has inspected private labs recommends stringent action against some of the Labs for violating the norms and not following Guidelines. While, the ICMR has now directed Gandhi Medical College to conduct quality control tests for private labs.

On the discrepancies found in the data uploaded by private labs, the committee has proposed to appoint a senior micro biologists to check amplification plots and other data in the RTPCR Machine of Private Labs to check whether the reports are correct.

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