Antibody tests performed by ICMR can lead to faster diagnosis in coronavirus hotspots

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With the Indian Medical Research Council (ICMR) issuing new test guidelines for COVID-19 and also enabling rapid antibody testing in India, experts believe this will help agencies improve their screening and identification skills.

To ensure fast detection of coronavirus cases, people who are in COVID-19 hotspots or areas where a large number of cases have been reported may need to undergo a rapid antibody test. In its interim report, the ICMR recommended the use of the rapid antibody test in coronavirus hotspots across the country.

The government is currently using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing to detect coronavirus from samples of the throat or nose of people with symptoms or those at high risk who may have come into contact with positive patients.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EXISTING AND NEW TEST KITS

Existing test system: The COVID-19 detection tests currently carried out in the country are called PCR and require nasal or throat swabs. It takes approximately five hours for the results to be published.

Rapid Antibody Tests: The rapid test kits are faster to get early results. They use blood samples from suspect patients and usually take about 15 to 30 minutes to get the result. Underneath you have to clean your finger with an alcohol swab and use the lancet intended for fingerprints.

WHY ANTIBODIES FASTER TEST IS IMPORTANT

A few days ago, the ICMR reportedly returned a recommendation from countries like Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and a few other countries to start the rapid antibody test nationwide.

These kits can be used from small clusters in the city to the village level to quickly find out the number of infections, which is very important in the current situation.

Thousands of migrant workers have returned to their homes since the blockage, and there is a possibility that a small section (3 out of 10 according to the ICMR estimate) has transmitted the coronavirus.

According to officials from the Ministry of Health, these rapid antibody tests are the best way to determine whether the disease is spreading in the hotspots.

His family members tested positive Experts say that the antibody test does not always pick up an early virus infection, but they can indicate whether someone has a particular virus, even if they are asymptomatic.

This type of test is important for community surveillance and investigation.

WHERE IS THIS TEST AVAILABLE?

India has reportedly already started buying these rapid antibody test kits for the country.

A source from the Ministry of Health suggested that India has already bought around 5 lakh test kits from the United States, China, and South Korea.

The ICMR has already approved a dozen such kits for Covid-19, which are expected to be available soon.

A Bengaluru-based company is also working on this project and its rapid test kits are expected to be available soon.

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