The novel coronavirus conjures up such images of healthcare warriors inserting long pipe-like sticks with soft brushes up a nose and twirling it around for a few seconds. An extremely good specimen is apparently collected only when the swab goes far back for cells and fluids from the entire passageway that connects the base of the nose to the back of the throat.
But unlike an RT-PCR test that studies the genetic disposition of the novel coronavirus from nasal samples, the Antigen test detects the presence of the nucleocapsid protein which is part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the coronavirus disease (COVID). Not only is the Antigen test less sensitive and more specific, but it also most certainly rules out the asymptomatic and symptomatic carriers of COVID-19 in a quicker and cost-effective way.
While a positive Antigen test may be informative, a negative result would need to be confirmed by the more sensitive nucleic acid test and thus, it becomes imperative for laboratories and hospitals to ensure that all symptomatic negative patients be referred to a real-time RT-PCR test for COVID-19.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has validated and approved Trivitron Healthcare’s flagship COVID-19 Rapid Testing Antigen Kit – Biocard Pro COVID-19 Rapid Antigen – and recommends the test as a point-of-care diagnostic assay for testing, in combination with the gold standard RT-PCR test. These kits claim to provide accurate results in 7 to 10 minutes.
Biocard Pro COVID-19 Rapid Antigen
Biocard Pro COVID-19 Rapid Antigen kit is a chromatographic immunoassay for the qualitative detection of COVID-19 specific antigen. With the help of a nasal sample, it collects fluid samples, and produces results in minutes. Biocard Pro COVID-19 Rapid Antigen provides test results rapidly, at cost-effective rates, and can be more amenable to point-of-care use, and therefore more suitable for testing in community and remote regions.
As these tests are faster and less expensive than other popularly known PCR tests, Antigen tests may be more practical to use for large number of people.
The BioCard Pro COVID-19 Antigen Kit is one of the few rapid antigen kits to yield satisfactory results, manufactured at Trivitron’s Chennai manufacturing facility at the rate of around 4.5-5 million tests per month. The company plans to distribute these kits to various government entities and private laboratories through various marketing channels.
As India touches the 7.2 million mark for Covid-19 caseloads, arresting the surge in case numbers and access to COVID-19 testing still remains a huge challenge. In our effort to increase the rapid outreach of point-of-care diagnostic testing, Antigen tests will remain as one of the most important tools that saves valuable time, cost and lives.