The Delhi government Monday started community testing for coronavirus in containment zones. Nabi Karim is the first area where the rapid antibody tests, which produce results in around 15 minutes, were held. None of the 62 people who were tested were positive, said District Magistrate (Central) Nidhi Srivastava.
In the first half of the day, Srivastava said, officials were trained to conduct the test, for which a blood sample is required. “A team of six officials was trained in the first half and the testing was conducted in the second half. All guidelines suggested by the ICMR were followed. We are glad that none have come out positive,” Srivastava said.
The city saw 78 new cases on Monday from 1,397 samples collected in 24 hours. Two people admitted at Safdarjung Hospital succumbed to the disease, taking the toll to 47. Delhi has so far seen 2,081 cases, while 431 people have recovered.
On Monday, a three-member committee was formed by the health department to conduct an audit of COVID-19 deaths in the city. “The responsibility of the committee would be to audit each death daily, in which the COVID-19 test is positive in government and private hospitals, before releasing data. All government and private hospitals are directed to report all such deaths to the committee along with the copy of case sheet for death audit,” stated an order from the health department.
The Delhi government has got 42,000 rapid testing kits and plans to use them for community testing in containment zones. On Monday, four more areas were added — two in Jahangirpuri, and parts of Trilokpuri and Tughlakabad Extension.
Officials have been carrying out tests on neighbours of those who have tested positive in containment zones even if they are not displaying symptoms. Officials have so far taken 5,560 samples from these areas.
According to experts, the test detects antibodies that are produced if one has contracted the virus, and not the presence of the virus itself. “Once the virus enters the body, it will make antibodies against the viral antigen. These are IgM, produced in the acute phase, and IgG antibodies, produced when the virus starts clearing. They may take 3-7 days to develop. The test kits will be able to tell us if a person was affected acutely or if he has recovered. If the infection is acute or active, a person will have IgM antibodies; if they have recovered, they will have IgG antibodies. Unlike in the swab test, though, there is a lag between a person being infected and the antibodies being detected,” said Dr S K Sarin, who heads Delhi government’s committee on COVID-19 preparedness.