ICMR nod to conduct Truenat test to detect Nipah

ICMR nod to conduct Truenat test to detect Nipah


The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has authorized Kerala to use the Truenat test to identify Nipah. The test can be done in hospitals with BSL 2-level laboratories. Health Minister Veena George has stated that the standard operating procedure for the situation will be created.

What is ICMR and what are their responsibilities?

  • A government-funded body called the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) produces, coordinates, and promotes biomedical research in India.ICMR is one of the largest and most established organizations dedicated to medical research. Its main office is in New Delhi. 
  • The ICMR is in charge of planning, organizing, and advancing biomedical research in India. It took part in India’s defence against the coronavirus outbreak. 

Why was ICMR in the news recently?

  • Kerala has received approval from the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) to use the Truenat test for diagnosing Nipah virus (NiV).

What is the Truenat Test?

  • The original purpose of TrueNat was to quickly identify tuberculosis (TB). For TB detection, TrueNat Xpert MTB and TrueNat Xpert MTB Plus were both employed. It is a mobile, chip-based, battery-powered device created by a Goa-based company. As a more affordable alternative to the PCR test and a smaller test, the World Health Organization has approved TrueNat for the detection of tuberculosis (TB).
  • The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has permitted Kerala to utilize the Truenat test for Nipah virus (NiV) diagnosis.
  • To diagnose the Nipah virus, hospitals with Biosafety Level 2 (BSL 2) laboratories are permitted to use the Truenat test.

What Is The Difference Between TrueNat And RT-PCR?

  • One of the most popular methods for detecting COVID-19 is real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). In the RT-PCR test, a sample of the subject’s nose or throat is collected to examine the genetic components of the virus. 
  • The patient’s swabs, however, are insufficient for testing since they are insufficient in amount. While TrueNat is a chip-based test for identifying the coronavirus-like SARS-COV-2 E-gene.
  •  Compared to the RT-PCR test, the TrueNat test provides results more quickly because it is automated. To determine whether a virus is present, TrueNat uses samples from the nose and throat. Additionally, a TrueNat test is quick and convenient, enabling medical professionals to set up mobile facilities. 

What is the current status of the Nipah outbreak in Kerala?

  • Since September 16, Kerala has not reported any additional Nipah virus cases. Veena George, the state’s minister of health, reported that 61 tests from high-risk contacts, including medical personnel, had come back negative. There are 1,233 people on the contact list, she added. 
  • An uncommon and untreatable illness called the Nipah virus has led to encephalitis epidemics with significant mortality rates. In 1978, a human epidemic was first noted in Malaysia. Since then, there have been one or two outbreaks annually. 
  • In 2018, 2019, and 2021, there were three outbreaks of the Nipah virus in Kerala. On September 5, the 2021 outbreak was deemed to be under control and over. 

What are the benefits of the Truenat Test at the time of Nipah?

  • Rapid Results: Truenat tests are renowned for giving results quickly, frequently in a matter of hours. This speed is essential for identifying infectious diseases because it enables quicker isolation and patient management, which lowers the risk of disease transmission.
  • Point of Care testing: Truenat tests may be performed at or close to the point of care, such as in medical facilities, clinics, or outdoor locations. As a result, it can be used in remote or resource-constrained locations where it might not be practical to transfer samples to centralized laboratories.
  • Sensitivity and  Specificity: Truenat tests are made to be very sensitive and specific, which allows them to detect the presence of a specific pathogen properly while minimizing false positives and false negatives.
  • User-Friendly: Truenat exams are made to be user-friendly, and frequently only a little amount of training is needed to utilize them. They can therefore be used by healthcare professionals with various levels of 
  • Reduced sample handling: Truenat tests may involve less sample handling and processing than some other testing techniques, which lowers the danger of contamination and human mistakes.
  • Minimal Equipment: Truenat tests often just need a portable PCR (polymerase chain reaction) machine, which is more portable and less expensive than conventional PCR equipment.