With the government approving rapid antigen detection test for Covid-19, the PMC has decided to carry out a test for one lakh citizens residing in the containment zones for faster identification of infected persons from large populations and check the spread of disease.
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved the rapid antigen test for Covid-19 and negotiated the price at Rs 450 per kit with the SD Biosensor company. It has approved it for municipal corporations for mass testing in containment zones.
“The PMC is facing an emergency situation due to the outbreak. It is necessary to procure Standard Q Covid-19 antigen detection kit immediately. It is impossible to purchase the kit through the tender process due to time constraints, so it has to be purchased at the rate decided by ICMR and make it available for testing in civic hospitals and containment zones. A total of one lakh kits will be purchased for Rs 4.5 crore,” said Municipal Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad.
According to government permission, the Covid-19 rapid antigen test can be used for speedier testing of those with flu symptoms, those in high-risk category without symptoms and those with co-morbidities. It can also be used for patients undertaking chemotherapy, HIV positive patients, those who have undergone organ transplant, senior citizens and pregnant women.
Gaikwad said there was a need to test maximum people to check the spread of the disease, and the PMC had decided to take help from private laboratories approved by ICMR. “In the recently held meeting to review the Covid-19 situation in the city, it was decided to test maximum citizens with symptoms and close contacts of patients so as to check the spread of disease. Thus, the PMC will be signing a pact with ICMR-approved private labs to conduct Covid-19 testing for those referred by the civic administration,” he said.
Private labs charge Rs 2,200 per test for patients approaching them and Rs 2,800 for test by collecting samples of suspected patients at their residence.
“The civic standing committee has approved the administration’s proposal to undertake rapid antigen detection tests for Covid-19 of one lakh patients and also tie up with private labs for increasing testing capacity,” said Hemant Rasane, chairperson of the standing committee.
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