India's fight against the Coronavirus pandemic is all set to get a major boost as Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will get about 7 lakh rapid antibody testing kits by April 8. These will help in conducting COVID-19 tests in hotspot areas where a large number of cases are being seen. According to news agency ANI, ICMR has placed the orders and will get delivery in a phased manner. It is expected that they will get 5 lakh kits in the 1st phase.
The ICMR Director-General has written to the Health Secretary, asking her to disseminate in states and Union territories the advisory to start rapid antibody-based blood tests for COVID-19. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Saturday issued the advisory to start rapid antibody-based blood tests for COVID-19 in areas reporting clusters and in large migration gatherings or evacuee centres.
"Overall testing for COVID-19 using real-time RT PCR is increasing and we will be approaching full capacity in the near future. At the same time, we are expecting delivery of Rapid Test kits (blood-based) for use in response to COVID-19 situation," ICMR DG Balram Bhargava said in his letter to health secretary Preeti Sudan.
The National Task Force deliberated with experts for ascertaining use of these rapid test kits and the draft of the suggested algorithm was also discussed in detail with technical experts from the Health Ministry and inputs were included in the final version which is feasible for implementation in the field conditions, he said.
The advisory to start rapid antibody-based blood test for COVID-19, in clusters (with containment zones), and in large migration gatherings or evacuees centres is now available at ICMR website, he said. "The same may please be further disseminated to all States/UTs along with operational guidelines for implementation and roles and responsibilities for implementation," Bhargava said.
Reports of the tests may be entered by the respective facilities on the ICMR portal similar to results of real-time RT PCR tests for COVID-19, he said. The results of antibody tests similar to blood tests are available in 15-30 minutes.
According to the Health Ministry, there has been an increase of 490 coronavirus cases in the last 12 hours, taking India's total number of positive cases past 4000-mark. There are 4067 total cases in India, including 3666 active cases, 292 cured/discharged/migrated people. 109 people have died, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
(With PTI inputs)