ICMR issues advisory for rapid antibody test at hotspots

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued an advisory for carrying out antibody testing for all symptomatic individuals in coronavirus hotspots in the country. Rapid antibody testing ensures speedy detection of viral cases and normally takes around 15-30 minutes to give the result. The test is approved by the United States Food and Drugs Association and validated by the Indian Council of Medical Research – National Institute of Virology, with marketing approval by the Drug Controller General of India.

“As a matter of abundant precaution, all symptomatic ILI (influenza-like illness) are to be monitored in health facilities. Any surge in cases to be monitored and brought to the notice of the surveillance officer or CMO for additional investigation,” the advisory said.

According to the guidelines, district health authorities would monitor people showing symptoms of cough, cold, low grade fever or sore throat and each of them would be advised 14 days home quarantine.

If the antibody test comes positive, the patients must be admitted to the hospital. “After clinical assessment, treatment in hospital or isolation as per protocol to be initiated for contact tracing,” the advisory said.

If the test comes negative in symptomatic patients, Real Time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests can be carried out, if warranted. If it comes out positive, then the patient has to be isolated and admitted in the hospital for further treatment.

PCR tests detect novel coronavirus from throat or nasal swab samples of people with symptoms. It takes about five hours for the results to come out.

“If the PCR test is not done, home quarantine and repeat antibody testing after 10 days of the last rapid antibody test will be done,” it added.