Rapid testing cannot replace RT-PCR test to diagnose Covid-19, says ICMR
A day after asking states to stop using new rapid test kits for two days, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has asserted that antibody rapid tests cannot replace the RT-PCR test to diagnose Covid-19 cases.
According to a press note released by the Union health ministry on Wednesday, the antibody rapid tests are largely to be used as a tool for surveillance. ICMR has forwarded a protocol for using Rapid Antibody Test to all States.
"Globally also, utility of this test is evolving and it is currently being used for detecting the formation of antibodies in individuals. These test results are also dependent on field conditions. As noted by ICMR, these tests cannot replace the RT-PCR test to diagnose Covid-19 cases," reads the note.
Earlier, the ICMR asked states not to use rapid test kits imported from China until its teams investigated the functioning of the same. The ICMR advice had come on Tuesday after states complained that the recently acquired rapid testing kits were delivering misleading and inaccurate results.
The ICMR has assured assistance to collect data from various states to assess the scope and extent of utility of these rapid antibody tests in field conditions. States have been advised to follow the protocol for these tests and use it for the purposes for which they are meant.
Meanwhile, the Government of India has decided to conduct "Telephonic Survey" where citizens shall be contacted through their mobile phone from the number 1921, through NIC.
"All citizens are requested to participate to help get proper feedback on the prevalence and distribution of Covid-19 symptoms. Also, please be aware of any other calls by pranksters or calls from any other number in the guise of such a similar survey," reads the note.
The states have been asked to inform the public about the survey through media in their respective geographical areas. The Centre has, however, also warned about the phishing calls.
Meanwhile, the government said that rate of recovery from Covid-19 has risen to 19.36 per cent in the country. A total of 3,870 people have cured of novel coronavirus infection.