Free Testing For Covid-19 Is Out Of The Question, Says Thyrocare’s A Velumani
A South Korean soldier wearing a banner reading “Covid-19 Free” and a protective mask stands at a temperature screening point at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea (Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg)

Free Testing For Covid-19 Is Out Of The Question, Says Thyrocare’s A Velumani

Free testing for Covid-19 will not be feasible due to higher costs, according to Thyrocare Technologies Ltd.’s A Velumani.

“Doing tests for free is out of question. This is not a routine test, it costs around Rs 10,000-12,000 on a commercial scale,” Velumani, managing director of company, told BloombergQuint in an interview. Tests could be done at a subsidies rate though, he said.

That comes when the Indian Council of Medical Research has appealed to private laboratories to offer the Covid-19 testing free of cost.

Health laboratories performing Covid-19 testing of respiratory specimens are provided the reagents from the U.S.-based International Reagent Resource, he said, adding that there are challenges in terms of reagent costs and specimen collection.

Velumani said Thyrocare has not been roped in by the government as of now, though the diagnostic company has been in talks with them informally.

Also read: Waiting For Government To Authorise Private Healthcare To Join Fight Against Coronavirus, Say Industry Leaders

There are 72 functional government-run laboratories for testing and 49 more will be active by the end of the month, according to Balram Bhargava, director general of Indian Council of Medical Research.

But even then the tests are not adequately done, Velumani said. “Whether it’s because the demand is low or whether the people don’t want to go to a government hospital or the government putting many conditions is not clear.”

Velumani, however, said hospitals will have an upper hand at doing tests than standalone diagnostic centers. Tests can be scaled up to 500 per center per day, he said.

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