COVID-19 outbreak: Govt issues advisory to start rapid antibody-based blood test for Coronavirus

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Published: April 5, 2020 2:45:53 PM

In a recent notification, the Department of Health Research under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have announced the commencement of rapid antibody based blood test for COVID-19.

Free Coronavirus COVID19 Testing Treatment under Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY by Modi govtThe rapid antibody blood test is a test that was done by countries like South Korea to combat and curb the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus.

Rapid antibody blood test for Coronavirus: In a recent notification, the Department of Health Research under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have announced the commencement of rapid antibody based blood test for COVID-19. The government, in the advisory, said “Overall testing for COVID-19 using real-time RT PCR is increasing and we will be approaching full capacity in near future. At the same time, we are expecting delivery of Rapid Test kits (blood based) for use in response to the COVID-19 situation.”

The rapid antibody blood test is a test that was done by countries like South Korea to combat and curb the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus. This test checks how the body reacts to the virus. When compared to reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, antibody test detects the presence of virus but does not fully confirm if the person is positive. Only a few drops of blood is required to do the test and the results come out in a few hours. ICMR has ordered 5 lakh kits for this test.

The government has advised that people who are showing Influenza Like Illness (ILI) will be monitored in health facilities. Usually the government has asked for a 14-day home quarantine, however, any surge in symptoms would be brought to the notice of the Surveillance Officer/CMO for additional investigation. The notification said that at facility level, symptomatic ILI individuals are advised to be tested using rapid antibody tests.

If the tests come out to be negative, the health experts may or may not suggest RT-PCR. If they do not suggest RT-PCR, then the patient is asked to stay under quarantine for 10 days and take the antibody test again. In some cases, despite negative antibody tests, RT-PCR may be done using the throat/nasal swab. Standard protocol will be followed if RT-PCR comes out positive.

In the case of a positive antibody test, patients will be shifted for treatment in hospital or isolation as per protocol. The antibody test is expected to help the government cover mass numbers for COVID-19 testing and help contain the outbreak of the deadly infection. Meanwhile in India, more than 3,000 cases have been reported positive for Coronavirus and death toll has reached 77.

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