Rapid testing for Covid-19 with Korean kits to start in Haryana from tomorrow
Blood-based rapid tests are largely used as a tool for surveillance with respect to the formation of antibody in persons exposed to coronavirus. However, it can’t substitute the real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test (RT-PCR) testUpdated: Apr 29, 2020 16:44 IST
CHANDIGARH: Haryana will start rapid antibody (blood-based) tests from Thursday to intensify surveillance of suspected coronavirus carriers in the state. The state government will use 25,000 rapid test kits manufactured by a South Korean company, SD Biosensor, at a facility in Manesar, Gurgaon.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recently advised state governments to stop the rapid antibody tests using kits procured from certain Chinese manufacturers after some states raised questions about their performance.
The blood-based rapid tests are largely used as a tool for surveillance with respect to the formation of antibody in persons exposed to coronavirus. However, it can’t substitute the real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test (RT-PCR) test.
Additional chief secretary (ACS), health, Rajeev Arora said rapid test kits are being distributed to all 22 districts of the state. The hotspot districts of Nuh, Palwal, Gurgaon and Faridabad are getting 1,500 kits each, while Panchkula will get 2,000 rapid test kits. Ambala, Rohtak and Sonepat will get 1,000 kits each. Besides, 500 rapid kits each are being allocated to all medical colleges in the state.
The rapid antibody test is done in hotspots for surveillance and epidemiological studies.
“The real time PCR-based molecular test remains the gold standard frontline test for Covid-19 diagnosis,” Arora said.
According to a communication by the director general, health services, to civil surgeons, stratified random sampling may also be done for testing various categories of persons in the districts.
“For this, 7% of the rapid kits allocated to a district should be used for testing police personnel, street vendors, sanitary staff, media professionals, newspaper vendors and district administration personnel. Also, 7% each of the rapid kits should be used to test health care workers in the field and in the institutions,” the communication said.
The ACS, health, said since ICMR guidelines said that rapid tests should not be done indiscriminately, “we will use the test kits in hotspots and containment zones, where a high number of positive cases are detected, and in large migration gatherings, and evacuee centres.”
All symptomatic influenza-like illness persons having fever, cough, sore throat and runny nose will be tested in the hotspots, he said.
WHAT’S THE RAPID TEST
Only an initial screening test; it can’t replace nasal swab RT-PCR test.
It’s a supplementary tool to assess the prevalence of Covid-19 within a specific perimeter.
ICMR says it should be done in hotspots.
The test is only useful if done after a minimum of seven days of onset of symptoms.