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PMC to procure 1 lakh antigen detection kits worth Rs 4.59 crore

Pune: The civic body will procure one lakh rapid antigen detection kits, after its earlier stock of kits, also at one lakh, has been used up.

This the second time the civic body is procuring the kits which have ramped up the city’s testing capacity.

The one lakh rapid antigen testing kits will cost the civic body Rs 4.59 crore and will be used by ground staff during home-to-home surveys, or at the Covid care centres.

Murlidhar Mohol, mayor, said, “ The decision to procure one lakh more kits was taken earlier which got an official confirmation on Tuesday. This will ramp up city’s testing capacity even more which is already testing maximum number of people in the state. We will soon get these kits.”

The kits are used only on symptomatic patients who have flu-like symptoms after close contact with a positive patient.

However, the ICMR guidelines do caution that the antigen test could give false negatives and need a double confirmation through an RT-PCR test.

The standing committee approved the decision to procure more kits during a meeting on Tuesday, at Rs 459 per kit. This is expected to be supplied within 24 hours.

The kits are used for any person suffering from heart/lung/kidney ailments, diabetes, blood pressure, or those undergoing chemotherapy.

HIV positive, organ recipients, senior citizens or pregnant women who need to be operated in an urgent basis can also use the antigen detection testing kits.

The testing kits are also used to test essential service providers who may have been exposed to the virus while performing their daily job.

Test of the tests

The RT-PCR is the gold standard for detection of the virus with a nasopharyngeal swab sample. The rapid antigen detection test too seeks to find the same. However, the primary difference between the two is the time factor. While RT-PCR detects the antigen produced by the virus in about four-five hours, the rapid antigen kit detects the antigens in less than 30 minutes. The kits are easy to use for ground staff, after a minor training. However, the antigen detection kits are also known to give false negatives and so need to be cross verified using an RT-PCR.  –Hindustan Times

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