Delhi HC asks ICMR, CSIR to reply on pendency of approval to FELUDA test for Covid-19

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The Delhi High Court asked Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to file affidavits regarding pendency of approvals to ‘FELUDA’, a test used for detecting Covid-19 infection.

A direction from the division bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad came when the petitioner Rakesh Malhotra informed the bench that despite the fact that the Drug Control Authority has granted its approval to a test called ‘FELUDA’ on September 20, the same has not come out in the market due to the pendency of approvals at the end of ICMR/CSIR.

Ahluwalia, Central Government Standing Counsel sought time to obtain instructions on this regard.

The court also asked Delhi government to file an updated status report before the next date of hearing, i.e. November 11.

Advocate Satyakam, representing Delhi government, has informed the court that the Sero-surveillance 4 in Delhi will conclude by day after tomorrow when all the samples shall be collected and it will take at least three weeks for the samples to be processed.

The court asked the Delhi government to file report of Sero Surveillance-4 and cautioned them not to make it public through a preliminary or tentative reports of any nature before filing it in the court.

The bench also noted that there have been repeated instances where the turnaround time for declaring the results has been crossing four days and said these things are unacceptable when a person tested is required to be isolated in that duration.

“There have been occasions when the samples collected by the Delhi Government are sent to laboratories that do not entertain any queries for the reports, least over Saturdays and Sundays, leaving the persons concerned in a quandary more so when the Government has declared Un-lockdown 0.5 which requires all employees to report for work regularly; nor can the self-employed persons/professionals be expected to remain in isolation unnecessarily,” the court said.

The turnaround time for declaring the results is far exceeding 24 hours and in fact extending to 84 hours, the court noted. The court also asked Delhi Government to look into the position and state in the next status report as to how the system is being streamlined to ensure that the turnaround time for declaring the results is strictly adhered to and the results, whichever way they may be, are conveyed to the person tested within 24 hours.

The court was hearing petitions surrounding rapid testing of Covid-19 in the national capital.

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