Hybrid Testing, Booster Dose Must
Businessworld|January 12, 2022
"To quickly detect Covid-19 cases and slow the virus’ spread, India must increase its use of Rapid Antigen Tests in addition to RT-PCR tests”
Anand K.

IN A PERIOD of only two months, the new variant of SARS-CoV-2 that was first detected in South Africa, has triggered a new wave of Covid-19 in many countries including UK, France, Italy and now some regions in India.

Omicron variant that is known to be at least three times more transmissible than Delta, was also designated as a ‘variant of concern’ by World Health Organization (WHO). Therefore, tracing the virus and monitoring its spread are key to deploy effective countermeasures.

As per the recent data, India has already recorded 650+ confirmed Omicron cases with Maharashtra alone recording more than 165+ cases of the new variant.

Looking at the increasing cases, to quickly detect Covid-19 positive cases and slow the virus’ spread, India must increase its use of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) in addition to the “gold standard” RT-PCR tests.

RATs can help improve access to testing, without ramping up RT-PCR capacity, and help identify more positive cases, at a lower cost, and help better handle a possible third wave.

Using this strategy in localised hotspots and in rural areas where RT-PCR testing capacity is lower, or when testing capacity is overwhelmed, can help India control a surge quickly. Whereas, flyers at the airports can opt for rapid nucleic acid test (NAT).

A Hybrid Model

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