What is Coronavirus rapid testing and how does it work

What is Coronavirus rapid testing and how does it work
  • The ICMR approved Coronavirus rapid testing as India looks to prevent community spread of Covid-19.
  • These tests deliver results in 15-30 minutes, reducing the time taken by up to ten times as compared to the conventional PCR tests.
  • The Indian government has ordered 5 lakh rapid testing kits, with more expected in the coming days.
India is busy demarcating containment zones across the country as it is trying hard to keep the stage three of Covid-19 from spreading. To hasten the process, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) approved Coronavirus rapid testing. Experts believe that it will allow authorities to speed up the screening process and identify positive cases faster.

Compared to the conventional PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests which take up to five hours to give results, rapid testing takes just 15-30 minutes to provide results, making it up to ten times faster than traditional PCR testing.

The ICMR recommended the use of rapid testing in Coronavirus hotspots in the country. It will be used in areas which have a large number of positive coronavirus cases. It is cheaper than PCR testing and gives faster results, making it suitable for regions with high rates of infection.

What is Coronavirus rapid testing and how does it work?

As the name suggests, Coronavirus rapid testing is a quick test that looks for the presence of the antibodies in the patient’s blood. These antibodies are created when a patient is infected by Coronavirus.

While PCR tests use nasal or throat swabs, rapid antibody tests use blood samples. The process is easy, too – the doctors prick your finger with a lancet and take the blood sample. Compared to regular tests, rapid antibody tests are painless.

The doctors then check your blood sample for the presence of any antibodies fighting against the Covid-19 disease. Antibodies are your body’s defence mechanism and try to cure you of the disease without any external medication.

If the antibodies are detected, the patient is confirmed for Coronavirus.

Coronavirus rapid testing availability

According to reports, the Indian government has started buying Coronavirus rapid testing kits. Currently, 5 lakh kits have been imported and there are plans to buy more.

Kerala has already procured 3,000 rapid testing kits from Pune-based Mylab, with each kit costing ₹1,900. Testing at government facilities will continue to be free. It remains to be seen if private hospitals and institutions are allowed to offer these tests.

Why Coronavirus rapid testing is important

With several Coronavirus hotspots emerging across the country, rapid testing and detection will allow the authorities to clamp down and quarantine more people.

Rapid testing is aimed at controlling the spread of Coronavirus, which is of utmost importance in a country like India that has a population of more than 1.3 billion.

While rapid tests are not always accurate, they can be used to detect the presence of the Coronavirus even if the patient is asymptomatic - not exhibiting any symptoms of Covid-19.

See also:

Tips to avoid Coronavirus infection

What are the Coronavirus symptoms and how to check for them at home

How COVID-19 affects people with diabetes, cancer, and other conditions