In a boost to the COVID-19 testing capacity of Visakhapatnam, the district has received 1900 Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kits. On Wednesday, a workshop on the usage of the RAT kits was held at the Andhra Medical College in Visakhapatnam. Speaking on the occasion, AMC Principal, Dr PV Sudhakar announced the arrival of 1,900 test kits in the district . He stated the kits will be used to conduct tests across the district.
Rapid Antigen Test (RAT), RT-PCR, TrueNat, and CBNAAT are some of the testing methods which can be used to detect the virus. While it takes 2-3 days to receive reports through RT-PCR, TrueNat, and CBNAAT methods, the results can be achieved in about 30 minutes using RAT kits. Approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Rapid Antigen Test is essentially a cases test suitable for point-of-care testing which gives test results within 30 minutes.
Shedding light on the difference between Rapid Antigen Test and other methods of testing, Dr Appa Rao, Department of Microbiology at AMC, Visakhapatnam, in a conversation with Yo! Vizag, said, “Through this test, the presence or absence of an antigen in the sample can be detected. This distinguishes it from other medical tests that detect antibodies (antibody tests) or nucleic acid (nucleic acid tests), of either laboratory or point of care types. The inherent advantage of an antigen test over an antibody test is that it can take time for the immune system to develop antibodies after the infection begins, but the foreign antigen is present right away.”
As COVID-19 cases continue to spike in Vizag, the city’s municipal body, Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC), earlier launched a sentinel surveillance exercise for testing people from different walks of life for coronavirus. The civic body has undertaken the sentinel surveillance exercise to understand the prevalence of COVID-19 within communities. Sharing further details, GVMC Chief Medical Officer (Health) Dr KSLG Sastry said, “As a part of the surveillance, frontline workers including police personnel, ANMs, ASHA workers, ward volunteers, and others on COVID-19 duty will be tested for the virus. We have begun testing at places that are likely to witness gatherings in significant numbers. So far, samples have been collected at MVP Rythu Bazar, Rythu Bazar at Bullayya College, CMR Shopping Mall, and Gyanapuram wholesale market. We are also planning to hold this exercise at other public places too in the coming days.”