NEW DELHI: Expanding the testing strategy in line with its containment plans in high-risk areas and Covid-19 hotspots, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) issued an advisory to start rapid antibody-based blood test for coronavirus.
The strategy for using the test includes clusters (containment zone) and large migration gatherings or evacuees’ centres. “As a matter of abundant precaution, all symptomatic ILI (influenza-like illness) are to be monitored in health facilities. Any surge in cases to be monitored and brought to the notice of surveillance officer/CMO for additional investigation,” the advisory said.
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It added all ILI persons should be home- quarantined for 14 days. At facility level, all symptomatic people with influenza-like illness having cough, cold, low-grade fever and sore throat will be tested with rapid antibody tests. If a patient tests positive after a rapid antibody test, decision will be taken based on clinical assessment and treatment in hospital will follow. As per protocol, contact tracing will also be done. In case of negative results, RT-PCR may be done if warranted.
The revision in the strategy came in view of the increasing number of cases in last few days needing an immediate check on migrant workers, who left cities for their homes, for Covid-19. The decision was taken by the empowered group, one of 11 formed to consider various aspects of the Covid-19 crisis, that is looking at disease surveillance, testing and availability of hospitals and isolation beds.
Health ministry joint secretary Lav Agarwal said over 75000 samples have been tested so far and the numbers are increasing gradually depending on the case load. The number of tests conducted per day has increased to more than 10,000 now, as compared to around 5000 a week ago, Agarwal said.