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What is the ‘rapid test’?
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Rapid test- features, how is it carries out, significance and criticisms.
Context: To tackle suspicions of whether the novel coronavirus has spread into the community and if not prevent such a scenario, the Kerala government has announced ‘rapid tests’ that will ensure speedy results within half an hour.
What is the ‘rapid test’ for Coronavirus?
A rapid test is conducted to determine whether there has been any kind of recent viral infection in a person’s body.
- When a pathogen enters a human body, specific antibodies are released as a response to the virus.
- A rapid test can detect the presence of such antibodies in blood, serum or plasma samples quickly, indicating a viral infection. Rapid testing is conducted usually to check for community transmission of a virus during an epidemic.
- According to the health department, it is a simple test that can be done with a person’s blood sample and will give out results within 10-30 minutes. It is also a low-cost test.
What does Kerala’s health department plan to do?
- Rapid tests can be used to conduct screening within the community and identify those with suspected infection, put them under observation and if required, subject them to the PCR test for coronavirus confirmation.
- Kerala plans to acquire as many rapid antibody kits as possible from ICMR-NiV and begin to use them, especially on those under quarantine in areas like Kasaragod district which has reported 80 of the 181 active cases. The situation in Kasaragod is critical than in other districts and has been met with stricter lockdown measures by the administration.
Sources: Indian Express.