ICMR recommends antibody test for COVID-19 cases

Population in hotspot areas may be tested using rapid antibody test

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New Delhi: To ensure speedy detection of coronavirus cases, those residing in COVID-19 hotspots or areas which have reported large numbers of cases may have to undergo a rapid antibody blood test for the viral infection.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in its interim advisory has recommended the use of the rapid antibody test in the country’s coronavirus hotspots. The decision for the recommendation was taken at an emergency meeting of the National Task Force, formed to deal with the health crisis.

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Population in hotspot areas may be tested using rapid antibody test. Antibody positives to be confirmed by RT-PCR (reverse transcription-PCR) using throat/nasal swab, and antibody negatives to be quarantined at home,” the ICMR said in its interim advisory.

The Health Ministry has identified 20 existing and 22 potential COVID-19 hotpsots across the country. The results of the antibody tests, similar to other blood tests, are available in 15-30 minutes.  

Presently the government uses the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests to detect coronavirus from samples of throat or nasal swab of people with symptoms or high-risk individuals who might have come in contact with positive patients.