PGIMER to be validation centre for rapid Covid-19 diagnostic tests – chandigarh
The Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research is setting up a committee to validate a point of care (POC) rapid diagnostic test to detect the presence of viral proteins (antigens) expressed by the Covid-19 virus from samples from respiratory tracts, it has been learnt.
These antigen detection tests will be quick, accurate, cover a large chunk of the population, and be done POC or where the patient is being cared for.
The institute was chosen as a validation centre as part of an Indian Council of Medical and Research (ICMR) programme for clinical trials for such tests for Covid-19 cases.
The need for the reliable and convenient test was felt as the popular reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) diagnostic test for Covid-19 is not widely available.
It has the potential to be used in all possible public and private healthcare settings and made available for mass testing.
Dr Jagat Ram, director PGIMER, said it had been decided after a round of meetings that samples of the same suspected persons will be conducted through RT-PCR as well as the antigen kits.
“The results will be later collated for the authenticity of the kits which we will shortly receive. According to ICMR conditions a minimum of 300 rapid antigen tests will be required for each validation and the results will be communicated to ICMR,” he added.
On execution plans, he said, “A committee will be constituted to work out the modalities and comprehensive plan along with timelines to meet the desired expectations of ICMR and contribute towards containing the pandemic.”
“The availability of antigen-based detection tests is very limited all across the world. Most of such tests have relatively moderate sensitivity but high specificity. The test is a promising tool to keep a track of Covid-19 patients by rapid testing,” he added.