New Delhi: The government has put a stop on the plans to use rapid antibody testing kits for assessing the extent of the COVID-19 outbreak in hotspot areas of the country as the accuracy of the test results are not satisfactory,
The move to postpone the usage of the kits — that had been imported from China and a few other countries following due approval from the National Institute of Virology under the Indian Council of Medical Research — brings huge embarrassment to the country’s top health research body, which is the primary agency for the fight against COVID-19 in India.
Highly placed sources in the Union ministry for health and family welfare told several media outlets that health minister Harsh Vardhan, in a meeting of the group of ministers for COVID-19 management, said the “outbreak in the country is under control and we can do without using the antibody testing kits as of now as there is doubt on the efficacy of the kits”.
Rapid antibody testing kits are considered as a quick way to check whether somebody has already had the infection and are effective after at least 10 days of a person catching COVID-19 virus. These rapid testing kits are much cheaper than RTPCR tests and are easier to put in use on a large number of population in identified hotspots in the country.