COVID-19 testing: After HC raises concern, Delhi government revises protocol for rapid antigen test

By: |
July 31, 2020 3:40 PM

As the High Court raised concerns over testing methods for the novel Coronavirus, the Delhi government amended the testing strategy used for the rapid antigen tests.

India Israel ties, covid 19 rapid testing, Gabi Ashkenazi, S Jaishankar, Israeli Defence Forces, COVID-19 patients, Benjamin Netanyahu, latest news on coronavirus outbreakRapid antigen testing surely provides the result in 30 minutes but its accuracy is only 40 per cent.

As the High Court raised concerns over testing methods for the novel Coronavirus, the Delhi government amended the testing strategy used for the rapid antigen tests. Recently, the High Court questioned the AAP-led government as to why it was choosing rapid antigen testing over RT-PCR method despite the fact rapid antigen testing involves a higher rate of false-negative results.

According to a report by The Indian Express, the health department has removed the patients admitted on the back of Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) from the high-risk group of individuals. COVID-19 testing for these individuals has been compulsory using the rapid antigen test. This implies that people having SARI symptoms will no longer be tested using rapid antigen testing methods. This, as per the report, is a move which can help reduce the number of Rapid antigen tests.

It is to note that rapid antigen testing surely provides the result in 30 minutes but its accuracy is only 40 per cent when compared to RT-PCR testing, which has showed an accuracy of 60 per cent. Therefore, RT-PCR is considered a gold standard for testing Coronavirus.

After the serosurvey was conducted in the National Capital, it was revealed that around 23 per cent of COVID-19 patients in Delhi were asymptomatic. This led the Delhi High Court to question the Kejriwal-led government that why it is conducting almost 6,000 RT-PCR tests in a day when the state has the capacity of performing 11,000 tests in a day. The high court also added that given the results of serosurvey, RT-PCR tests are important in such situations.

In a response to the Delhi High Court, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the his government has been following the existing guidelines and all health authorities were directed to conduct a follow-up test with RT-PCR on everyone who showed symptoms for the novel Coronavirus. He also tweeted that if anyone is showing symptoms and tested negative with rapid antigen testing, that person will have to be tested with RT-PCR. “I directed the officers today to ensure strict compliance of these guidelines,” Kejriwal said in his tweet.

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