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
Indication for RT-PCR which comprises both Throat Swab + Nasal Swab
- All symptomatic individuals who have been on international travel in the last 14 days.
- All primary contacts (direct and high risk contacts) of confirmed cases
- If Symptomatic – Test Immediately
- If Asymptomatic – Should be tested once between 5th and 14th day of coming in contact.
- All symptomatic health care workers
- All hospitalised patients with SARI (Fever + Cough and/or Shortness of Breath)
- Influenza like illness (ILI) patients in containment zone – Once Rapid Antibody Test commences, such patients will be tested through rapid kits)
- ILI patients in whom Rapid Test is negative and clinician warrants RT-PCR.
Indications for Rapid Antibody Based Blood Test
- Symptomatic influenza like illness-ILI
- Patients coming to designated fever clinics
- Patients identified during house-to-house surveys in the containment zone.
- Patients in large migratory gatherings/shelters
- 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.