With rise in coronavirus cases in India, the Indian Council of Medical and Research (ICMR) is planning to scale up antigen-based COVID-19 testing.
According to a report by Hindustan Times, ICMR has advised states to use the easy-to-use method to compliment the more rigorous RT-PCR test to detect the coronavirus. A senior official of ICMR told the leading daily that rapid antigen-based tests can help to quickly determine an ongoing infection. The sole approved manufactuer of the antigen tests, South Korean SD Biosensor, has increased daily production which exceeded 200,000 on Sunday.
The ICMR on June 23 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.
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.
"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.