Kohima, May 22 (NE): As a measure to intensify the fight against COVID-19 outbreak, Mon district will test all asymptomatic and symptomatic returnees for COVID-19 using the TrueNat machine, said an order issued by Deputy Commissioner, Mon, Thavaseelan K, IAS on Thursday, May 21, 2020.
DC Mon said that in view of the arrival of the stranded persons from different parts of the country and with mandatory Institutional quarantine in place, all asymptomatic and symptomatic returnees to Mon district will be tested for COVID-19 using the TrueNat machine.
TrueNat machine is a diagnostic machines used for testing drug-resistant tuberculosis, which can now be used for screening and confirmation of COVID-19 cases. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) revised guidelines said that the TrueNat system is now a comprehensive assay for screening and confirmation of COVID-19 cases, it said.
Pooled testing will be undertaken to test every single returnees starting from the 5th day of their institutional quarantine period in Mon district.
Pooling of sample will be done upto a maximum of 5 at a time to increase the screening capacity and to avoid the effect of dilution leading to false or negative result.
A pooled testing algorithm involves the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), screening of a specimen pool comprising multiple individual specimens. This will be followed by individual testing only if pooled sample test result turns positive.
Random testing of samples will be used in parallel if there is an urgent need to test some returnees based on certain pre defined parameters, it stated.
The cartridge currently available in the district hospital, Mon will be reserved for testing as per the latest Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) protocol.
Further, DC Mon stated that the COVID-19 District Task Force, Mon and the Empowered Group for COVID-19, Mon are in process of purchasing a fully automatic real time quantitative micro PCR analyzer in addition to new cartridges to test about 5000 people who are likely to return in multiple batches to the district over the course of next few months.
The cartridges and the quantitative micro PCR analyzers are sponsored by the Konyak Union (KU), it said.