New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday recommended newer additional strategies for Covid-19 testing, allowing the use of an antigen test to fast-track testing and tracing of positive cases and ease burden on the current RT-PCR test.
“It is now recommended to use Standard Q Covid-19 Ag detection test as a point of care diagnostic assay for testing in the containment zones as well as hospitals in combination with the gold standard RT-PCR test,” the ICMR said in an advisory.
The advisory says that as the entire public health machinery is focused to test, track and treat Covid-19 patients, it is imperative to explore the existing antigen-based assays as point-of-care tests for early detection of SARS-CoV-2.
The ICMR and AIIMS, Delhi independently evaluated the stand-alone rapid point of care antigen detection assay which does not require a specialised machine and can be interpreted with a naked eye.
“The test is a promising tool for quick diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 in field settings. The assay is known as Standard Q Covid-19 Ag kit and has been developed by Indian companies. On validation, the test has been found to have a very high specificity with moderate sensitivity.”
The advisory says that symptomatic individuals who test negative for Covid-19 by rapid antigen test should be definitely tested sequentially by RT-PCR to rule out infection, whereas a positive test should be considered as a true positive and does not need reconfirmation by RT-PCR test
Availability of an antigen-based detection tests is very limited all across the world. Most of such tests have relatively moderate sensitivity but high specificity.