Work on testing systems began on 14 January 2020 after the genome of the new coronavirus was published. The first test for detecting virus RNA by PCR was registered on 11 February 2020. As of 25 August 2020, 34 domestic and foreign diagnostic reagent kits for detecting SARS-CoV-2 RNA and 51 reagent kits for detecting immunoglobulins to SARS-CoV-2 were registered in the Russian Federation (https: //static-0.minzdrav. gov.ru/system/attachments/attaches/000/052/550/original/%D0%9C%D0%A0_COVID-19_%28v9%29.pdf?1603788097).
A new rapid test received a marketing authorization on 3 February 2021 (https://www.rospotrebnadzor.ru/about/info/news/news_details.php?ELEMENT_ID=16811, and a test kit for the detection of the N501Y coronavirus mutation in the British strain, was registered on 15 February 2021 (https://www.rospotrebnadzor.ru/about/info/news/news_details.php?ELEMENT_ID=16860).
Since 2 April, testing for COVID-19 is mandatory for a) all people returning from abroad and experiencing respiratory disease symptoms; b) contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases; c) all cases of pneumonia; d) people over 65 with symptoms of respiratory disease; e) healthcare professionals with risk of COVID-19 exposure (once a week, or in case of symptoms – immediately) f) Boarders in residential establishments (boarding schools, military facilities, prisons) and their staff in case of symptoms of respiratory disease (https://www.rospotrebnadzor.ru/upload/iblock/ca5/postanovlenie-ggsv-ot-30.03.2020-_-9.pdf). Tests are prescribed by a doctor and performed in hospitals, at home by mobile emergency units and also in private laboratories. Final supervisory testing for inconclusive tests is performed by VECTOR, the State Institute for Virology in Koltsovo/Novosibirsk.
On 18 February 2021, 107.9 million tests had been conducted throughout the country by 113 Rospotrebnadzor laboratories, 692 laboratories in state health care facilities and 225 private laboratories (https://www.rospotrebnadzor.ru/about/info/news/news_details.php?ELEMENT_ID=16905). Testing capacity increased from 2,000 tests performed daily on 1 March to 300,000 on 10 June (http://government.ru/news/39846/). On average, the coverage with testing was 332 tests per 100,000 population as of mid-December (http://government.ru/news/41122/).
On 6 April, Rospotrebnadzor launched a large-scale voluntary screening campaign to better “identify, isolate, cure”. People can request a test from the Center for Molecular Diagnostics. The test is performed at home for a fee (1250 RUB per test plus 650 RUB per household). The project is being piloted in the Moscow region for later extension to the whole country. In April, the Ministry of Defence organized mandatory testing of their military and civilian personnel. Sheremetyevo International Airport and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) launched voluntary express-testing for coronavirus for arriving and departing passengers at Terminal B (domestic flights) from 20 July, and at Terminal D (domestic and international flights) from 27 July. Test results are provided in one hour (using Evotek-Mirai Genomics test system) in Russian and in English, and cost 2750 RUB.
In Moscow, as of 4 August, 80,000 tests can be carried out daily and citizens can access results within three days on their personal electronic medical record page ( https://mosgorzdrav.ru/ru-RU/news/default/card/4457.html ). From 16 July, anyone can take a PCR test by appointment in Moscow for free and without a prescription provided they can show their passport and compulsory health insurance card. Organizations of more than 100,000 employees must organize mandatory testing of 10% of their staff every other week.
On 15 May, a large COVID-19 immunity screening programme was launched in Moscow with ELISA tests on IgM and IgG antibodies. Every three days, 70,000 randomly chosen Moscow citizens receive an invitation for testing via email or sms. Since 27 May, any Moscow citizen requesting it two weeks in advance can undergo this test voluntarily. Data collected is reviewed weekly and published on the mos.ru portal and will inform decision-making on easing of restriction measures. The fourth phase of this immunity screening programme that covered 98,000 people showed that 21.7% of the Moscow population had antibodies (https://mosgorzdrav.ru/ru-RU/news/default/card/4310.html). From 11 June, antibody tests can be taken at the workplace, with cost sharing between the employer and the municipality; on 9 July, 600 companies were engaged in the process (https://mosgorzdrav.ru/ru-RU/news/default/card/4302.html. On 31 August 2020, the second stage of the project to explore population immunity to COVID-19 was launched in four regions (St. Petersburg city, Leningrad, Tyumen, Khabarovsk regions); with future expansion anticipated. The results of the project are needed to conduct an epidemiological analysis, assess and predict the epidemiological situation, and develop recommendations for counteracting the new coronavirus infection.
As part of this project, in June-August more than 74 thousand people were examined in 26 regions. The results found that in 11 regions the level of population immunity was more than 20%. The highest levels of immunity were found among preschool children (1-6 years old) and primary schoolchildren (7-13 years old); indicators for these age groups were 1.3-2.1 times above the average level of population immunity in these regions. In the socio-professional structure of the population, the highest level of population immunity was found among healthcare and education workers (https://www.rospotrebnadzor.ru/about/info/news/news_details.php?ELEMENT_ID=15273).
On 28 January 2021, the Head of Rospotrebnadzor A.Popova stated that 20-25% population have already had antibodies to this virus (https://www.1tv.ru/news/2021-01-28/400696-eksklyuzivnoe_intervyu_pervomu_kanalu_glavy_rospotrebnadzora_anny_popovoy).