Dr Harshal R Salve, associate professor at the centre for community medicine in AIIMS said: "Healthcare workers involved in collection and transportation of COVID-19 samples might act as a source of infection. Prescribed SOPs for infection control are important to follow to prevent the spread of COVID infection particularly in hospital premises. As sample collection centres are increasing in the country, proper disposal of waste generated at the sample collection centre is also critical to prevent the spread of COVID 19."
The most crucial element which comes is when healthcare workers are handling the virus which starts with the sample being collected and transported in a Viral Transport Medium, Dr Salve said. "The Viral transport medium should be of the right quality and especially using tubes which are completely leak-proof and contamination-free as leakage of tubes can cause a huge impact on the spread of the virus to the healthcare individuals performing the test."
Dr S P Byotra, Chairman, Department of Internal Medicine at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said that India should aim at zero transmission of the virus to healthcare workers while handling the samples.
Anil Hota, CEO of SAR Cellulabs which deals in providing consumables for Covid testing said "It is essential to use Safe Viral Transport Medium manufactured in line with USFDA and ICMR standards. Substandard quality products put healthcare workers at risk, so it's important to use quality products for sample collection along with following stringent parameters."
Hota further said that while handling pathogenic samples, a Viral Transport Medium should be used which kills viral and bacterial pathogens.
According to the Indian Medical Association (IMA), about 500 healthcare workers including doctors, paramedics, nurses, technicians, etc lost their lives during COVID-19 duty.