Maharashtra will soon introduce a price cap for antibody tests in private laboratories. Health Secretary Dr Pradeep Vyas on Thursday said a committee will formulate and introduce the capping.
On June 23, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had issued a notification allowing health workers and those in living containment zones as well as working in offices and public sector units to undergo IgG antibody test.
India has approved two kits — enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) or Chemilumine-scence Immunoassay (CLIA) — to detect antibodies generated against coronavirus in the body.
While Thyrocare is charging Rs 600 for an antibody test, Suburban Diagnostics is charging Rs 950 for people who visit the lab and Rs 1,450 for home testing. SRL Diagnostics, which began testing on Thursday, is charging Rs 1,400 for IgG antibody test and Rs 950 for total antibody test.
Officials said just like RT-PCR test, for which prices have been fixed at Rs 2,500 for lab testing and Rs 2,800 for home testing, rates will be fixed for antibody tests after consultations with the stakeholders. Several people returning to their offices, working in salons and hotel industry want an antibody test conducted to know whether they have been exposed to Covid-19 and developed immunity.
RT-PCR is considered the gold standard for detection of Covid-19 infection, while antibody test is a tool to assess level of exposure of coronavirus in the population.
The Union health ministry has so far not capped prices for antibody testing.