ICMR advises rapid testing in all Flu like illnesses at Covid 19 hotspots
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has decided to allow rapid antibody testing for all symptomatic individuals in covid-19 hotspots in the country with a sudden spurt in new positive cases due to a religious gathering in the Capital.
In its latest move ICMR has issued advisory to start rapid antibody based blood test for COVID-19 be in in all areas reporting clusters of covid-19 cases. According to the ICMR, every confirmed case is an epicentre and people living within a 3 km radius of the location fall in the containment zones. This could vary depending on the mapping of contacts of the infected.
The strategy of ICMR for areas reporting clusters (containment zone) and in large migration gatherings/evacuees centres is hereunder--
1.Cases of Influenza Like Illness (ILI) to be monitored in health facilities. Any surge in cases to be monitored and brought to the notice of Surveillance Officer/CMO for additional investigation.
2.As a matter of abundant precautions, all symptomatic ILI persons should be advised home quarantine for 14 days.
3.At facility level, symptomatic ILI individuals to be tested using rapid antibody tests.
o Antibody test negative:
If warranted, confirm by real-time RT-PCR using throat/nasal swab.
RT-PCR negative: Likely non-COVID-19 ILI
RT-PCR positive: Confirmed COVID-19 Case and action as per protocol to be
initiated for isolation, treatment and contact tracing.
If real-time RT-PCR not done, home quarantine and repeat antibody testing after 10
days of the last rapid antibody test.
Antibody test negative: Likely non-COVID-19 ILI.
Antibody test positive: there is possibility of recent infection, quarantine for
another 10 days.
o Antibody test positive: After clinical assessment, treatment in hospital or isolation as per
protocol. Action as per protocol to be initiated for contact tracing.
If symptoms worsen, refer to designated COVID-19 hospitals.
When home quarantine is not feasible, consider facility-based quarantine.
Healthcare workers doing the rapid antibody test to use gloves, mask, and head covers.
Healthcare workers collecting throat/nasal swab to follow standard national infection control
The rapid antibody tests approved by US-FDA/CE-IVD or non-CE-IVD validated by ICMR-NIV
with marketing approval by DCGI be used.
In order to ensure that all such cases are monitored and necessary action is initiated with
respect to infectious disease management, details of all test results shall be uploaded in ICMR
All such organizations are duty bound to register themselves to ICMR portal and upload the
data in real-time.
Failure to do so, they will be held liable to action under Disaster Management Act, 2005.
ICMR took the decision in wake of finding over 1,000 new confirmed cases linked to the Tablighi Jamaat gathering that was held in New Delhi in mid-March. It is presumed that at least 30% of the total 2,900 cases in India are linked to the gathering.