Covid-19 Virus: Pune civic body set to start rapid antigen tests

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The Pune civic body in Maharashtra has decided to conduct rapid antigen detection tests for diagnosis of COVID-19 after a couple of days, a top official said on Wednesday.

He said the move will decrease the burden on the National Institute of Virology (NIV) and other laboratories.

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has received one lakh rapid antigen testing kits, he said.

As of June 30, Pune has seen 17,000 COVID-19 cases and 643 fatalities.

The introduction of the rapid antigen detection test might see a rise in the daily number of cases in Pune.

“We had placed an order of antigen rapid testing kits and received one lakh such kits. We will start conducting this test in the next couple of days after providing hands-on training to our staff posted in swab collection centers in the city,” said PMC commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad.

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He said the accuracy rate of the rapid antigen test is 90 percent which gives out results within 30 minutes.

The antigen-based test uses nasal swab samples and enables quicker diagnosis.

“The test is cost-effective one and there is no need for laboratory examination of the samples,” Gaikwad said.

As the tests cover a larger population and throw quick results, it enables authorities to modify the testing and logistical strategies.

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.

Gaikwad further said that the positive results will be included in the daily count of cases.

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“Since the antigen test gives out fast results, the number of swab samples sent to laboratories will decrease and the burden on the National Institute of Virology (NIV) and other labs will be minimized,” he added.

Gaikwad said the use of the rapid antigen detection test will also cut down the lodging and food expenses of people.

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