The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), the country's top medical research body, on Monday approved a "reliable" rapid antigen detection test with "good sensitivity and specificity" for early detection of the disease for the quick augmentation of testing capacity in various containment zones and hospital settings.
The approval for the usage of the kits, which can deliver results in 30 minutes, comes against the backdrop of an ICMR report which suggests that cases in India may continue to rise until October, even though the lockdown has slowed down the spread of the infection.
If the results delivered by these kits are positive, it would be considered final and require no reconfirmation by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, the standard frontline test for diagnosis of COVID-19.
The ICMR said: "...It is different from the Rapid Antibody Test kit. Sample is nasopharyngeal swabs in Antigen. The blood is being collected via an antibody test. A positive test in Antigen should be considered as a true positive and does not need reconfirmation by RT-PCR test."
As there are no reliable antigen detection tests available, the ICMR has conducted the evaluation of the only available or standalone antigen detection assay - Standard Q COVID-19 Ag detection kit - available in India and validated its usage.
Meanwhile, India has so far conducted 5,774,133 tests, with 115,519 tests conducted in the last 24 hours. The coronavirus cases in India have increased to 332,424 with over 11,500 fresh cases over the past 24 hours.