Parliamentary panel Health and Family Welfare red flags rapid antigen tests, know what is it?

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In its latest Coronavirus/COVID-19 study, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare said that it is ‘concerned’ with using less accurate diagnostic tests that raise the risk of false negatives. The Chairman of the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Health and Rajya Sabha MP Ram Gopal Yadav addressed Rajya Sabha President M Venkaiah Naidu, with the paper “The outbreak of Pandemic COVID-19, and its management.”

The study says that the government must determine the veracity of the RT-PCR Rapid Antigen Test and other diagnostic tests to provide an overview of the research potential in India. The panel highly suggested that research facilities for more precise testing be improved.

Earlier on the Indian Medical Research Council (ICMR) proposed that standard Q-COVID-19 Ag detection test or antigen detection test be used as a treatment diagnostic test in conjunction with RT-PCR testing in certain conditions.

Those testing COVID-19 negative with a fast antigen test should be sequentially tested with the assistance of RT-PCR for the purpose of excluding contamination, while positive testing should be treated as truly positive and does not require validation with the RT-PCR test, said ICMR in the advisory.

After 15 minutes, by looking at the test and check lines that can be read with a naked eye, the test can be viewed as positive or negative. A positive or negative test takes 30 minutes for its interpretation.

Rapid Antigen Detection Test

This procedure is conducted on swabbed nasal samples to detect antigens that exist on or in the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It is done outside the traditional laboratory setting. The test is used to get a diagnostic result easily. Antigen monitoring is relatively simpler and less costly than RT-PCR. It also detects positive COVID-19 cases with great accuracy.

Since SARS-CoV-2 has many antigens that are visible on its surface, including its nucleocapsid phosphoprotein and spike glycoprotein, an antigen test must be done which will indicate whether a person is currently infected by a pathogen such as the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The antigen disappears until the virus is gone.

In light of this, an accurate, fast antigen detection test with good sensitivity and specificity for early disease detection is urgently required.

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