By Shambhavi Naik
Pooled testing is a valuable tool in the routine surveillance of diseases. However, it is not a substitute for conventional diagnostic testing. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) advisory on pooled testing suggests using the pooled testing approach in areas of the low prevalence of the disease. This advisory builds on the ICMR advisory and recommends the following:
- For routine surveillance, employ pooled testing at the smallest administrative unit – ward in urban areas and village in rural areas.
- To confidently determine 2% positivity, a threshold of 8-10% of the target population should be tested using a conventional testing approach.
- Businesses may use pooled testing for periodic screening of their employees.
- Pooling strategies should be scientifically driven and adapted to the context.