Read on to know what are antibody tests according to ICMR and how do they help
With coronavirus cases touching 8 lakh in India, the government has decided to expand its testing capacity rapidly. As more people head to get tested COVID-19, one of the most common tests given to detect COVID-19 is the antibody test.
While antibody tests can't actively diagnose coronavirus infections it can check for proteins in the immune system, known as antibodies, through a blood sample. Their presence means a person was exposed to the virus and developed antibodies against it, which may mean that person has developed some immunity.
So what are the routine antibody tests available, and what is the difference between them?
Here's all you need to know:
Real-Time/RT-PCR- This test can take up to 90 samples at one time and can deliver results accurately. It takes up to 4-5 hours from receiving the sample to delivering the results, according to the recent guidelines the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR). It also mentions that this test is to be used to determine the likelihood of developing SARS-COV-2, a strain similar to COVID-19 whenever available.
The same report mentions guidelines for The TrueNat and CBNAAT sets, which can be used in the diagnosis of COVID-19 since there is the availability of customisable cartridges. In comparison to the Real-Time/RT PCR, this test has quicker turnaround time lasting about 30-60 minutes between receiving the sample and delivering the results but can administer only up to 1-4 samples in one run- limiting the number of people who can be tested in a day to 24-48 samples.
All COVID-19 tests conducted through these tests are fed directly into the ICMR data entry portal which helps them in getting national estimates on numbers of tests conducted.
ICMR has approved a total of 1,000 COVID-19 testing labs in both public (730) and private sector (270).
This includes RT-PCR labs (557); TrueNat Labs (363) and CBNAAT Labs (80), the guidelines said, adding that access to testing still remains largely a concern in a country like India, according to the report.