Rapid Antigen Testing Launched In Odisha’s Ganjam
Berhampur: With COVID-19 cases spiralling in Ganjam district, the Odisha government has given go-ahead for rapid antigen testing in Ganjam.
“Antigen testing has begun in Cuttack and Ganjam districts from today. As many as 2500 antigen test kits have been sent to Ganjam and 2000 kits to Cuttack. Another 20,000 kits would reach Odisha in the second phase,” said Sanghamitra Pati, Director, Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC).
“We got rapid antigen test kits and we are going to use it from today as per guidelines,” said Ganjam Collector Vijay Amrit Kulange.
Antigen tests are cheap, return results in minutes, and, like the genetic tests, reveal an active infection. They already exist for strep throat, influenza, tuberculosis, HIV, and other infectious diseases. But so far, only one antigen test for SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19 has received emergency use.
“Antigen testing was badly needed in Ganjam as it is the point of care testing. The kit can be used where the patient is there. It’s a lab on a swab,” said Dr Sunil Kumar Kota, a renowned consultant on endocrinology, diabetes and thyroid.
He further said testing through Real-time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) is based on a backlog of about seven days while the Antigen testing would take only a few minutes.
In the Antigen test, a sample of bodily fluid is collected using a nasal swab or related procedure, mixed with a few milliliters of a liquid, typically a sterile buffer solution. A few drops are spotted on one end of a test strip. Capillary forces pull the liquid over copies of two different antibodies specific for the same viral protein. If both antibodies spot their target—a positive test—the strip generates a signal, often a color change. This signal is generally read out by a person visually.