The Rajasthan government has approved the use of the Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) for early detection and identification of Covid symptomatic patients. It is considered to be a U-turn, as the government had rejected RAT last year after raising questions on its credibility.
The Central government had sent test kits to Rajasthan last year during the first wave of Covid. However, the state government claimed that results of the tests were not credible, and so the kits were sent back. As of today, only RT-PCR test is being used in Rajasthan and the capacity of testing is more than one lakh per day, but the number of samples is increasing every day and pendency is mounting. People have to wait 2-3 days for reports. Officials told in a review meeting that more than 7 lakh people have been identified with influenza-like illness (ILI) symptoms and if the rate of infection continues, then active cases will double in the next 26 days.
Looking at the situation, the government was forced to use the RAT this time. State Health Minister Dr Raghu Sharma said, “We still believe that RAT is less credible than RT-PCR, but we’ll use this on ILI patients of rural areas. The results of the test are fast, so it will help us to identify the Covid positive patients. If some discrepancy is found in the test result and symptoms of the patient, then only we’ll go for RTPCR.”