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Delhi Government orders 42 lakh COVID-19 antigen test kits

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Delhi Government orders 42 lakh COVID-19 antigen test kits

Move to help boost COVID-19 testing capacity amid fresh spike in infections


Photo used for representational purposes. File
  | Photo Credit: AP


Move to help boost COVID-19 testing capacity amid fresh spike in infections

The Delhi government has placed an order for 42 lakh rapid antigen test (RAT) kits, used to detect COVID-19, for increasing the number of tests per day, an official told The Hindu.

The government received about two lakh kits by Wednesday, the official said. The government was running low on stock of these kits and about 6,000-7,000 tests using RAT were being done daily for nearly a month. This is now likely to increase to over 15,000, he added.

Many testing centres were conducting lesser tests using RAT kits while some used only RT-PCR tests, the official said.

“The government had decided to do 70% of total tests using RT-PCR and rest 30% using RAT, but for almost a month, about 85% tests were being done using RT-PCR,” the official said. For instance, as per Wednesday’s bulletin, 10.4% of the total tests were done using RAT kits.

The official added that the Delhi government had been planning to place an order for the RAT kits for the past three months.

Is RAT a good option?

With a spike in fresh COVID-19 cases in the city, the Centre has told the Delhi government to enhance the testing in a focused manner, while maintaining a ratio between RT-PCR and RAT.

While RT-PCR gives more accurate results, RAT is quick as it returns results in 15-30 minutes, is cheap, and does not rely on laboratory and expensive equipment to carry out testing. This helps in quick contact tracing and containment measures.

But compared to RT-PCR, RAT has low sensitivity and is more prone to give false-negative results.



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