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Rapid antigen test for COVID-19: A useful weapon in the arsenal of public health

 Department of Community Medicine, Old Campus, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), Ludhiana, Punjab, India

Correspondence Address:
Anurag Chaudhary,
Department of Community Medicine, Old Campus, Near Dandi Swami Chowk, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), Ludhiana - 141 001, Punjab, Ludhiana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjdrdypu.mjdrdypu_951_21

Rapid antigen test has a very important value as one of tools to address the Covid pandemic. Though this test is not as accurate as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. As viral antigen appears before antibody formation in infected person. It is a specific marker of virus. Therefore, for detection of this highly infectious disease at an early stage, viral antigen testing can be a useful strategy in scenario of community transmission to prevent further spread. In India an advisory was issued by ICMR (on 14th June 2020) regarding usage of RAT for quick detection of COVID-19 positive patients. During second wave, Rapid antigen testing was advised only in symptomatic individuals and immediate contacts of laboratory confirmed positive cases. Though no test is perfect when it comes to the attributes of accuracy, accessibility, affordability, and timeliness of results. However, Rapid antigen test can be used as a useful test in public health that can benefit the larger population in breaking the chain of transmission if used wisely in different settings and according to the timeline of symptoms.

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