HYDERABAD: In a surprise move, the Telangana government has decided to acquire COVID-19 rapid antibody testing kits to conduct 50,000 tests and also IgG ELISA test kits with antibody assay to conduct 10,000 tests. These kits will be supplied to the government hospitals and medical colleges.
The decision comes just days after Health Minister Eatala Rajender raised doubts over the usage of of rapid antibody testing for COVID-19 when he criticised the other states for using them. He had pointed out at that time that the RT-PCR test continues to be the gold standard in testing for the novel Coronavirus. It is not clear how the State government plans to use these antibody testing kits.
When Express contacted the senior officials of Health Department and superintendents of government hospitals, they did not provide any clarity on the subject. In Delhi, which has crumbled under the weight of high COVID-19 cases, the government had started using antibody testing kits soon after the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) released a note in support of using rapid antibody testing kits in government and private healthcare settings and also said that it should be made available for “mass testing”.
Telangana has not recorded as many cases as Delhi but has come under severe criticism for abysmally low testing. The State had to even stall the collection of samples for a few days, after samples piled up in government labs. Now, the State government has floated a tender for supply of rapid antibody testing kits just a day after ICMR sent out a note in support of their usage on June 25.