Health

India plans to deploy antibody tests for COVID-19

Centre also releases age break-up of those who have tested SARS-CoV-2 positive

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Saturday 04 April 2020
Coronavirus tally in India reached 40. Source: Pixabay

This article has been corrected to remove an inadvertant error on testing negative and PCR tests. It was originally published on April 4, 2020.

The Union government okayed antibody tests for the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) April 4, 2020.

The tests are conducted in a herd. A positive sample will denote the persons in question have already developed antibodies to the infection after being exposed to the virus at some point. They will be quarantined at home or hospital, based on clinical assessments.

Testing negative will mean the persons have either not been infected or are yet to develop antibodies after being infected. Such persons will be followed up with a real-time PCR test, using throat/nasal swab, if warranted. That turning positive would confirm that a person is carrying the virus.

Not everybody will be given these tests. Patients with influenza-like illness (ILI) with symptoms like cough, cold, low-grade fever or sore throat and living in one of the clusters of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will be included.

Demographic distribution

The government Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY scheme will cover testing for SARS-CoV-2 and treatment of COVID-19, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said April 4, 2020. He said this would cover 50 crore people.

The Centre, meanwhile, revealed for the first time an age-wise distribution of those who have tested positive:

  • 8.61 per cent —Up to 20 years
  • 41.88 per cent — 21-40 years
  • 32.82 — 41-60 years
  • 16.69 per cent — Above 60 years
  • The government said 3,072 people had tested positive in India so far, 75 of whom have died.

Maharashtra continued to account for the most, 490, patients while Delhi recorded a spurt in cases to record 445. Tamil Nadu was third with 411 cases.

The death toll too was the highest in Maharashtra, at 24. Gujarat followed with 10 deaths.

India’s tally, however, was at 3,501 cases, according to crowdsourcing initiative Covid19india.org. According to it, 3,143 cases were active while the death toll was at 92.

Maharashtra’s tally, by this estimate was 537 while Tamil Nadu was at 485.

Global tracker Worldometer pegged India’s tally at 3,082 among a world total of 1.17 million. The United States had the most cases at 300,042 while Spain and Italy followed with more than 124,000 cases each. Italy has recorded the most number of deaths yet, followed by Spain and the US.

The International Monetary Fund April 3 said it would deploy $1 trillion to help countries push through economic disruptions created by the pandemic.

The All-India Institute of Medical Sciences administration “appealed” to all its doctors to donate a day’s salary towards the non-government PM-CARES fund. Its resident doctors’ association has opposed the move.

 

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