So far 50,000 such kits have been already allotted for Bengaluru.

A health worker in PPE kit covered with mask and face shield holds up an antigen test kit in gloved hands
news Coronavirus Wednesday, July 15, 2020 - 20:00

The Karnataka government is going to procure another two lakh antigen test kits, in its effort to contain the COVID-19 spread in the state and in particular Bengaluru.  

Additional Director of Karnataka State Drug Logistics and Warehousing Society, N Manjushree, told TNM, “We had already purchased and supplied 1 lakh kits. We are in the process of procuring another 2 lakhs antigen kits.”

Antigen tests can give the result in five to 10 minutes unlike RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) test which often takes a day. Moreover, it does not require a lab setup nor pose a biosafety hazard and is much cheaper than the RT-PCR test.  

It was earlier reported how lab results were delayed for Bengaluru as many staff working in the government-run laboratories had gotten infected.

“These kits are used mostly for healthcare workers, or persons who have high people to people contact. The other category we are tergetting are patients with influenza like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) or any other symptomatic patients,” Dr CN Manjunath, state nodal officer for COVID-19 testing told TNM.

He added, “If the results come back positive for these patients, then there is no need for confirmatory tests with RT-PCR kits. The same holds true if the result is negative for asymptomatic patients. But if the results are negative when the patient is symptomatic, we need to go for a confirmatory test.”

While Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar had earlier said that the state bulletin will have a breakup of tests carried out by RT-PCR and antigen tests from Tuesday, this was not the case.

An official said that out of the 23,674 tests that were carried out on Tuesday, 3,000-plus were antigen tests.

Among the 1 lakh such test kits, 50,000 were given to health authorities for use in Bengaluru only. An official said the testing target for each district is primarily on four factors—-  (1) positivity rate (2) deaths (3) case fatality rate (4) source wise composition of positive cases. All of the factors are comparatively high for Bengaluru.

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