ICMR Current Affairs - 2020

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India to participate in WHO trials of COVID-19

On March 28, 2020, ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) announced that India is to participate in trials of WHO (World Health Organization). The trials are to identify potential cures for the outbreak of COVID-19.

Highlights

So far, the COVID-19 infected cases were few in numbers that India could not participate in the trials. Now with the number of cases increasing to 940, India becomes eligible to participate in the WHO solidarity trials. The WHO has launched 4 mega trials. The trials include the use of drugs such as hydroxychloroquine, currently used by India and also HIV drugs such as Lopinavir and Ritonavir.

Apart from India, other countries such as France, Iran, Thailand, Argentina, Canada, Norway, Spain, South Africa and Switzerland.

Current Steps

India is to import 3.4 million probes for rapid testing of the virus. India will participate in all the trials of WHO. There are around 50 different trials being conducted by the organization.

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India, first in the world to start antibody tests for Corona Virus

India is all set to begin antibody tests to confirm if a person was previously infected with the virus. This will help understand the epidemiology of Covid-19.

Highlights

The methodology adopted by India is first in the world. It is a serological test that looks for antibodies in the blood. The test is different from the current methodologies that use nasal or throat swabs to determine active infection.

About the test

The test determines if the person had viral infections based on the presence of antibodies in their blood. The antibody test is not a confirmatory test. However, it is a test for the purpose of surveillance. It helps to generate data about number of people that got exposed to the virus.

Role of ICMR

So far, ICMR has conducted tests on random samples and no community transmission has begun in India. However, experts believe that there are possibilities for India to enter into community transmission stage.

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