Bengaluru, July 11 (IANS) Amid increasing Covid cases, Karnataka will start conducting 20,000 antigen tests for early detection of the infection, an official said on Saturday.
“In view of the evolving situation of Covid in Karnataka there is a need to enhance testing using reliable point of care (PoC) rapid antigen detection test,” said Additional Chief Secretary Jawaid Akhtar.
Among those who should be prioritized for rapid antigen testing are people with Influenza Like Illness (ILI) in containment zones and fever clinics, Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) cases and suspected Covid deaths.
Other people who need to be prioritized include international travellers, asymptomatic patients undergoing chemotherapy, immunosuppressed patients, HIV positive cases, patients diagnosed with cancer, transplant patients, and those who underwent elective and emergency surgical procedures.
According to Akhtar, the rapid antigen detection test with good sensitivity and specificity for early detection of infection is needed and invoked the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines for such tests.
Any medical establishment intending to perform rapid antigen tests should mandatorily register with the ICMR and enter all positive and negative results on its portal.
“Failure to register with ICMR or uploading Covid results of each person on the portal will be liable for action under Epidemic Diseases Act,” he said.
Akhtar asked the medical establishments interested in offering antigen tests to watch a brief description and video guide for PoC rapid antigen tests he provided.
In case of asymptomatic negative patients, he asked the medical establishments to refer them to a RT-PCR or CBNAAT or True-NAAT test to determine the existence of Covid.
“This is particularly essential as the rapid antigen PoC test has a moderate sensitivity. Fresh nasopharyngeal swab and throat swab shall be collected in VTM tube for such patients,” he said.
Karnataka revises its testing protocol from time to time amid the evolving Covid situation.
On Friday, the state tested 19,228 patients for the virus and 20,000 on Thursday as it saw a record 2,313 Covid positive cases and 57 deaths on Friday, as its tally rose to 33,418.