Maha to Conduct Rapid Blood Tests for Early COVID-19 Detection

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The Centre has allowed Maharashtra to conduct rapid COVID-19 tests to expedite the detection of coronavirus cases, Rajesh Tope said on Thursday, 2 April.

The state government will use blood samples instead of swabs for rapid tests for coronavirus detection, Tope said.

Rajesh Tope, Health Minister, Maharashtra"The prime minister has informed us that the state can now carry out rapid tests for early detection of coronavirus cases. We will be using blood samples for the early detection of COVID-19 infection."

So far, India has only been relying on genetic tests which are time consuming and expensive. Known as PCR test or polymerase chain reaction tests, these don't have the ability to detect old cases of coronavirus.

On the other hand, antibody tests are quick and can detect a case of past infection with the help of blood.

Also Read: COVID-19: What Is Antibody Test & How Is It Different From PCR?

Our immune system produces antibodies to neutralise the viruses in the body. These antibodies remain present for some time inside us - even after the infection generated by the virus is completely gone. This helps the doctors detect older cases of COVID-19. It is worth noting that if samples are collected early, antibody test can fail to detect the virus.

Earlier, in a guideline related to antibody kit, ICMR said, "Positive test indicates exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Negative test does not rule out COVID-19 infection."

It further said, "these tests are not recommended for diagnosis of COVID-19 infection.”

Also Read: PPEs, Masks: How Protected Are India's Frontline Medics?

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