Summary: ICMR Approval for Truenat Test in Kerala for Nipah Detection
The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has granted approval to Kerala for using the Truenat test to diagnose Nipah virus infections. The announcement was made by the Health Minister of Kerala, Veena George.
Truenat Test and Lab Requirements
The Truenat test can be conducted in hospitals with Biosafety Level 2 (BSL 2) labs. Standard operating procedures for the test will be formulated.
Truenat is a chipbased realtime PCR test that can provide quick results, thus aiding in faster isolation and treatment of Nipah virusaffected individuals.
Enhanced Diagnostics Capabilities
The approval means that more labs across the state can perform NiV diagnostics. Positive samples can be further analyzed at labs in Kozhikode or Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospitals, or the Institute of Advanced Virology.
This will expedite the process of confirming Nipah virus cases, thereby allowing quicker public health responses.
State's Efficient Response
Kerala has been effective in containing the Nipah virus, largely due to efficient work by the surveillance team in Kozhikode district.
Use of digital tools for contact tracing and public awareness campaigns have helped the state in effective containment.
Current Health Status
No new cases have been reported recently. Of the 323 samples tested, only six were positive, including two deaths. A total of 980 people are under isolation.
This indicates that the spread of the virus has been largely controlled and medical treatments are proving effective.
1. Serosurveillance Study: To understand the epidemiology, the health department will conduct a serosurveillance study among highrisk contacts.
2. Longterm Surveillance Strategy: The state is focusing on a longterm surveillance strategy, including training healthcare workers.
3. Extended Monitoring: Though the incubation period is 21 days, another 21 days of stringent surveillance is planned.
The state is considering the use of advanced technology like AI and big data analytics for longterm surveillance measures.
The ICMR's approval for the Truenat test enhances Kerala's diagnostic capabilities, aiding in the state's already efficient response to the Nipah virus outbreak.