ICMR proposes antibody test again to test the extent of COVID-19 outbreak in India

By: |
May 31, 2020 12:04 PM

In order to map the extent of Coronavirus outbreak, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has yet again proposed using antibody tests to check masses for a possible infection.

How coronavirus enters cells decoded, may help develop new drugsIt is to note that antibody tests were introduced in April this year but later it was advised not to use it due to some faulty results. Image: Reuters

With a rapid rise in the number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in India, the testing process needs to be rigorously carried out. In order to map the extent of Coronavirus outbreak, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has yet again proposed using antibody tests to check masses for a possible infection. The decision has come after ICMR released its new study regarding coronavirus positivity in patients who are hospitalised for severe acute respiratory illness (SARI), the Indian Express reported.

It is to note that antibody tests were introduced in April this year but later it was advised not to use it due to some faulty results. The council again wants to use antibody kits to check the workers who have return to their home from big cities, those who live in slums and some poorly ventilated buildings, people working in media organisations, industrial units, staff in municipal corporations, people living in containment areas, police, paramilitary personnels and prison officials, the report highlighted.

Earlier, ICMR had put a stop on using antibody kits because the test kits that came from China were found to be faulty. Since then, the council has developed its own antibody kits to be used for Coronavirus testing in India and understand the extent of the outbreak within the last one month.

The council in its study asserted that there is a need for more population-level surveillance as COVID-19 positivity rate has risen in SARI patients and testing them will reveal the extent of outbreak. This will aid in building an understanding of how many patients who were admitted to hospitals for severe symptoms did not have Coronavirus earlier but are found positive now. The report said that after conducting COVID-19 tests on nearly 70,000 SARI patients, the positivity rate was 1.7 per cent between March 22 and March 28 which was increased to 2.6 per cent between March 29 and April 2.

The report further citing the ICMR study said more than 10 lakh were tested and the categories included symptomatic contacts of Covid-positive cases, international travellers who showed symptoms, hospitalised SARI patients, symptomatic health care workers, symptomatic people in hotspots, asymptomatic healthcare workers who came in contact with other cases without adequate protection, and other asymptomatic contacts of cases. Among these, SARI patients have had the second-highest Coronavirus positivity rate among all categories.

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