Ballari district purchased 10,000 rapid antigen test kits

These kits will give faster results and the administration plans to send alerts directly to the registered mobile numbers of people tested. Currently, VIMS Hospital in the city conducts tests but can process only 60 samples a day. With the rapid antigen kits, more tests can be conducted as results are obtained within half-an-hour. Deputy Commissioner S S Nakul said these tests are being conducted for the first time in the state. The decision to buy rapid antigen kits was taken during a recent meeting, chaired by district in-charge minister Anand Singh. The District Mineral Funds has been used to buy the 10,000 kits, an officer said.

What is the rapid antigen detection test for Covid-19?
It is a test on swabbed nasal samples that detects antigens (foreign substances that induce an immune response in the body) that are found on or within the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It is a point-of-care test, performed outside the conventional laboratory setting, and is used to quickly obtain a diagnostic result. In India, the ICMR has allowed the use of antigen detection kits developed by the South Korean company S D Biosensor, which has a manufacturing unit in Manesar. The kit, commercially called Standard Q COVID-19 Ag detection kit, comes with a with an inbuilt Covid antigen test device, viral extraction tube with viral lysis buffer and sterile swab for sample collection.

How is rapid antigen detection test different from RT-PCR test?
RT-PCR is currently the gold standard frontline test for the diagnosis of Covid-19. Like RT-PCR, the rapid antigen detection test too seeks to detect the virus rather than the antibodies produced by the body. While the mechanism is different, the most significant difference between the two is time. As the ICMR has pointed out, the RT-PCR test takes a minimum of 2-5 hours including the time taken for sample transportation. “These specifications limit the widespread use of the RT-PCR test and also impedes quick augmentation of testing capacity in various containment zones and hospital settings,” the ICMR advisory states. In a reliable rapid antigen detection test, the maximum duration for interpreting a positive or negative test is 30 minutes.

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