Indian Council of Medical Research Development of Health Research Advisory

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Salient Points

Advisory to start rapid antibody based blood test for COVID-19 (as of 4th April 2020)

The article focuses on the following:

  • Strategy for areas reporting clusters and in large migration gatherings/evacuees centres Cases of Influenza Like Illness to be monitored in health facilities.
  • Any surge in cases to be monitored and brought to the notice of the Surveillance Officer/CMO for additional investigation.
  • All symptomatic ILI persons be advised home quarantine for 14 days.
  • Symptomatic ILI individuals to be tested using rapid antibody tests at facility level.
  • If antibodies test negative, confirm by real-time RT-PCR using the throat/nasal swab.
  • If RT-PCR negative – Likely non-COVID-19 ILI
  • If RT-PCR positive: Confirmed COVID-19, case and action as per protocol to be initiated for isolation, treatment and contact tracing.
  • OR If real-time RT-PCR not done, home quarantine and repeat antibody testing after 10 days of the last rapid antibody test.
  • If antibodies test negative: Likely non-COVID-19 ILI.
  • If antibodies test positive, there is a possibility of recent infection – quarantine for another 10 days.
  • Antibody test positive – After clinical assessment, treatment in hospital or isolation as per protocol. Action as per protocol to be initiated for contact tracing. If symptoms worsen, refer to designated COVID-19 hospitals.
  • When home quarantine is not feasible, consider facility-based quarantine.

Detailed Summary 

General Guidelines

  • Healthcare workers doing the rapid antibody test to use gloves, mask, and head covers.
  • Healthcare workers collecting throat/nasal swab to follow standard national infection control guidelines.
  • The rapid antibody tests approved by US-FDA/CE-IVD or non-CE-IVD validated by ICMR-NIV with marketing approval by DCGI be used.
  • In order to ensure that all such cases are monitored and necessary action is initiated with respect to infectious disease management, details of all test results shall be uploaded in ICMR portal.
  • All such organizations are duty bound to register themselves to ICMR portal and upload the data in real-time. Failure to do so, they will be held liable to action under Disaster Management Act, 2005.

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