With the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) having asked the States to put antibody-based rapid testing on hold for two days, Tamil Nadu, which had launched testing with rapid test kits on Saturday, will halt the exercise for 48 hours.
Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar said the ICMR’s decision was based on test results in Rajasthan and West Bengal. “We have been emphasising that the rapid test kits are only a surveillance tool, and it is the RT-PCR which is the confirmatory test for COVID-19,” he said.
Officials of the Health Department said that based on an oral communication from the ICMR, they were suspending the use of rapid test kits for two days. “However, we have had no adverse results from the tests. We have asked 42 deputy directors of health services to collect full reports of the testing, and will compile the details on Wednesday,” an official said.
Mr. Vijayabaskar said the ICMR had granted approval to T.N. for trials of convalescent plasma therapy.
“Now, the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital will take up trials for convalescent plasma therapy,” he said.
The State plans to provide plasma therapy to critically-ill COVID-19 patients. This involves the collection of plasma from persons who had recovered from the disease, and transfusion to severely-ill patients. When a person recovers from COVID-19, their blood would have antibodies against the virus.