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Indian Council of Medical Research has issued an advisory mentioning the protocol for using Rapid Antibody Test kits in Covid-19 hotspot areas in view of the various states that intend to use these kits in the affected areas.

ICMR has said that the National Task Force has carefully reviewed the data evolving from various countries on the use of such kits and based on available evidence, the testing strategy for COVID-19 has been revised.

The research body said, while using the rapid antibody test kits, it is critical to understand that the gold standard frontline test for COVID-19 diagnosis is Real-Time PCR based molecular test, which is aimed at early virus detection. The rapid antibody test cannot replace the frontline test. It also said that the rapid antibody test is a supplementary tool to assess the prevalence of the diseases within a specific area and the rapid antibody test will only be of utility after a minimum of seven days of onset of symptoms.

ICMR said that data about these rapid tests is emerging and understanding of their utility for diagnosis is still evolving. It said, the rapid tests are useful for epidemiological studies and surveillance purposes and the test has to done under strict medical supervision.

It further said that in case any state does not have a hot spot, these tests may be used for any hotspot which may emerge in the future or as a surveillance tool for epidemiological purposes in such areas where cases have not emerged so far.

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