COVID-19 positive cases are on surge in India. Reportedly, so far India has been slammed for not conducting appropriate number of tests compared to other countries. Despite being the second-most populous country, till April 15, 274,599 tests were conducted as compared to the US which is conducting 100,000 tests per day, Scroll reported.
Now, India has ramped up its testing with the kits mostly imported from the Chinese city of Guangzhou. Besides, the government has also given nod to a slew of domestic test kit makers. States like Delhi, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh have acquired kits to scale up COVID testing.
Launching the test kit, Andhra Pradesh CM Jagan Jagan Mohan Reddy said the fight "against the pandemic can be speeded up with the arrival of the new rapid test kits which will provide results in just 10 minutes time". Meanwhile, Delhi will be conducting random tests in containment zones.
India’s top medical body, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), has given green signal for two kind of testing kits. While one is the real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, conducted in a lab with nasal and throat swabs. The confirmatory molecular test takes six to eight hours for results.
The second test is a rapid antibody test, basically a blood test for detecting COVID-19 antibodies. The results can reportedly be processed in 30 minutes. ICMR advised it to use for cluster-based testing in hotspots.
The kits are however not effective in early diagnosis. Press Information Bureau took to Twitter to write: "Two types of rapid #COVID2019 testing kits, amounting to a total of 5 lakh kits have arrived today. This test is not for early diagnosis. This will be used for surveillance, to monitor whether hot spots are growing or receding."
Retweeting the same, it wrote: "Rapid antibody tests are for monitoring surveillance, not for diagnosis. Hence there is no concern with respect to the testing kits being faulty, that concern was with respect to immune response alone - @ICMRDELHI ,on a query on testing kits from China".