Revised Lab Testing Protocol – Karnataka

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Salient Points

The following article focuses on the revised orders issued by the Additional Chief Secretary-Health and Family Welfare and Commission Health and Family Welfare services regarding the lab testing and protocols for COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Indications of RT-PCR
  • Indications of Rapid antibody based blood test
  • The Guidelines to be followed

Detailed Summary

Indication for RT-PCR which comprises both Throat Swab + Nasal Swab

  1. All symptomatic individuals who have been on international travel in the last 14 days.
  2. All primary contacts (direct and high risk contacts) of confirmed cases
    1. If Symptomatic – Test Immediately
    2. If Asymptomatic – Should be tested once between 5th and 14th day of coming in contact.
  3. All symptomatic health care workers
  4. All hospitalised patients with SARI (Fever + Cough and/or Shortness of Breath)
  5. Influenza like illness (ILI) patients in containment zone – Once Rapid Antibody Test commences, such patients will be tested through rapid kits)
  6. ILI patients in whom Rapid Test is negative and clinician warrants RT-PCR.

Indications for Rapid Antibody Based Blood Test

  1. Symptomatic influenza like illness-ILI
    1. Patients coming to designated fever clinics
    2. Patients identified during house-to-house surveys in the containment zone.
    3. Patients in large migratory gatherings/shelters
    4. Patients in whom the first rapid test has come negative and RT-PCR are not done – repeat rapid test 10 days after first rapid test.

General guidelines to follow

  • Healthcare workers doing the rapid antibody test to use gloves, N-95 masks and head covers.
  • Healthcare workers collecting throat/nasal swabs to use complete PPE and samples to be collected at designated facilities.
  • Rapid Antibody tests approved by US-FDA/CE-IVD or Non-CE-IVD validated by ICMR-NIV with marketing approval by DCGI only to be used.
  • Details of all test results shall be uploaded in ICMR portal – to ensure all cases are monitored and necessary action is initiated.
  • All Symptomatic ILI patients should be advised home quarantine for 14 days.

If home quarantine is not feasible, consider facility based quarantine.

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