Coronavirus: ICMR gives approval for rapid antibody tests

NEW DELHI: Expanding the testing strategy in line with its containment plans in high-risk areas, and the Indian Council for Medical Research () issued a notice on Saturday to begin a rapid antibody-based blood test.

The strategy for using the test includes groups (containment zone) and large migration meetings or evacuee centers.

“As a matter of abundant caution, all symptomatic ILI () should be monitored in health facilities. Any increase in cases to be monitored and brought to the notification of the surveillance officer/CMO for further investigation, the notice said.

He added that all people with ILI must be quarantined in their home for 14 days. At the facility level, all symptomatic individuals with an influenza-like illness who have a cough, cold, low fever, and sore throat will be screened with rapid antibody tests.

If a patient tests positive after a rapid antibody test, a decision will be made based on clinical evaluation and treatment will be continued in the hospital. According to the protocol, contacts will also be followed up.

In case of negative results, RT-PCR can be performed if warranted.

The review of the strategy came in light of the increasing number of cases in recent days that required immediate control of migrant workers, who left the cities for their homes, for Covid-19. The exodus, followed by the increase in the number of people linked to the congregation, led the government to identify critical points and high-risk areas and devise its strategy accordingly.

The decision was made by the empowered group, one of 11 formed to consider various aspects of the Covid-19 crisis, which looks at disease surveillance, testing and the availability of hospitals and isolation beds.

On Saturday, the joint secretary of the health ministry, Lav Agarwal, said that more than 75,000 samples have been analyzed so far and that the numbers are gradually increasing according to the load of cases.

The number of tests performed per day has increased to more than 10,000 now, compared to around 5,000 a week ago, Agarwal said.