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Expert Blog: Know The Facts About COVID-19 Testing

Amid the uncertain times of the pandemic that continues unabated and instills a sense of anxiety and fear among people, various misinformation around COVID-19, which the WHO has described as an infodemic. Here are some of the common myths around coronavirus testing busted by medical experts

Expert Blog: Know The Facts About COVID-19 Testing

New Delhi: Ever since the coronavirus pandemic began making headlines across the world, there have been confusing and sometimes conflicting theories about various aspects of COVID-19. The misinformation around the novel coronavirus that keep cropping up is mostly because the virus is new, has been out there for almost nine months and the medical communities and scientists across the world are still learning about it. Are antigen tests accurate? Is testing negative via rapid tests enough? Is there still a need to get tested when a person is not severely ill? The list of doubts is endless. Dr Trupti Gilada, an Infectious Disease Specialist at Masina Hospital, Mumbai and Dr Ajay Phadke, Centre Head at Dr Avinash Phadke Pathology Labs, Mumbai bust some of the common myths regarding COVID-19 testing. As the country is opening gradually from the lockdown and is facing a spike in positive cases due to the increased movement of the people it is important to know all about the coronavirus tests.

Also Read: Retest All COVID-19 Symptomatic Negative Cases Of Rapid Antigen Test Using RT-PCR Test: Centre

Myth: Rapid antibody tests on blood are a good alternative to diagnose COVID-19

Fact: The rapid tests on blood that are widely available and often misused are antibody tests. These cannot be used for diagnosis of an active COVID-19 infection. These rapid blood tests look for antibodies the body may have developed while fighting COVID-19.

A positive test most likely means that the individual has already had the infection in past and has recovered from the virus. The test remains positive for a very long time even after full recovery. Similarly, if someone is sick and COVID-19 is suspected, the antibody test may still be negative.

The tests that may diagnose the infection more accurately are tests done on the throat swab.

Myth: If I test negative, I do not have the infection

Fact: Mostly, the COVID-19 tests do not provide results with 100 per cent accuracy. In fact, if 100 COVID-19 patients are tested using the ‘viral’ tests, about 30 of them may test falsely negative. So if you have been exposed to the virus or have symptoms and have still tested negative, you must still take all precautions so as to not spread the infection to the others.

Myth: Testing on the first day after a suspected exposure to COVID is important

Fact: After an exposure, it most commonly takes an average of 4-7 days for the test to become positive. Testing on the first day can often miss the infection and the test should be carried out around day 5 post-exposure.

Also Read: Now Doctor’s Prescription Not Required For COVID-19 Test In Delhi

Myth: If I test positive for IgG (Immunoglobulin G) antibodies, I am now immune to COVID-19

Fact: A positive Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody test only means you have already had COVID-19 infection and have recovered from it even if the infection was asymptomatic. There is not enough scientific research to know if these antibodies offer long term immunity to protect you from getting COVID again. In fact, there have already been a few cases of reinfection reported. So, even if you test positive for these antibodies, continue following all the precautions as if you could get the infection again.

Myth: Kids do not transmit the virus and therefore do not need to get tested.

Fact: While kids are less likely to show symptoms of COVID-19 even after getting the infection, a study has shown that they shed 10-1000 times more viral RNA (Ribonucleic acid) than adults. Also, it is very difficult to have kids follow masking, hand hygiene, cough etiquettes, and physical distancing. Therefore, kids may be more effective spreaders than adults. It is thus important to diagnose the infection in them so that all necessary precautions including isolation from other kids can be implemented.

Myth: COVID-19 antigen test is better than PCR (Polymerise Chain Reaction) testing.

Fact: Both of these are viral tests done on the throat swab. The COVID antigen test can be used in areas where resources for Polymerise Chain Reaction are unavailable or when it is very urgent. The pros of these tests are the rapidity, lower cost and its specificity. Therefore, if it tests somebody positive with COVID-19, no PCR confirmation IS needed. The cons are that it gives many false-negative results. So those who test negative should ideally be then tested with the RT-PCR (Real Time Polymerise Chain Reaction).

Also Read: 27-year-old Woman Is The First Reported Case Of Coronavirus Reinfection In Bengaluru, Experts Explain What It Means

(Dr Trupti Gilada is an Infectious Disease Specialist at Masina Hospital, Mumbai and Dr Ajay Phadke is the Centre Head at Dr Avinash Phadke Pathology Labs, Mumbai)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

23,96,06,768Cases
20,13,42,617Active
3,33,82,100Recovered
48,82,051Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 23,96,06,768 and 48,82,051 have died; 20,13,42,617 are active cases and 3,33,82,100 have recovered as on October 15, 2021 at 4:15 am.

India

3,40,37,592 16,862Cases
2,03,6782,908Active
3,33,82,100 19,391Recovered
4,51,814 379Deaths
In India, there are 3,40,37,592 confirmed cases including 4,51,814 deaths. The number of active cases is 2,03,678 and 3,33,82,100 have recovered as on October 15, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,86,280 2,384

33,157 6

64,13,418 2,343

1,39,705 35

Kerala

48,29,944 9,246

96,421 1,802

47,06,856 10,952

26,667 96

Karnataka

29,82,399 310

9,607 43

29,34,870 347

37,922 6

Tamil Nadu

26,83,396 1,259

15,451 199

26,32,092 1,438

35,853 20

Andhra Pradesh

20,59,122 540

6,588 27

20,38,248 557

14,286 10

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,008 12

135 4

16,86,976 16

22,897

West Bengal

15,79,012 530

7,576 81

15,52,491 601

18,945 10

Delhi

14,39,311 28

337 1

14,13,885 29

25,089

Odisha

10,33,809 521

4,890 38

10,20,645 477

8,274 6

Chhattisgarh

10,05,614 16

203 4

9,91,841 20

13,570

Rajasthan

9,54,382 8

42 6

9,45,386 2

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,244 34

215 20

8,15,943 14

10,086

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,669 12

111 1

7,82,035 11

10,523

Haryana

7,71,035 16

105 158

7,60,881

10,049 174

Bihar

7,26,016 8

42 6

7,16,313 2

9,661

Telangana

6,68,618 168

4,171 40

6,60,512 207

3,935 1

Assam

6,05,847 207

3,646 157

5,96,263 362

5,938 2

Punjab

6,01,971 33

234 11

5,85,199 16

16,538 6

Jharkhand

3,48,406 11

130 4

3,43,141 7

5,135

Uttarakhand

3,43,729 28

175 22

3,36,157 6

7,397

Jammu And Kashmir

3,30,834 93

935 11

3,25,473 104

4,426

Himachal Pradesh

2,21,113 182

1,387 5

2,16,011 173

3,715 4

Goa

1,77,356 68

679 27

1,73,342 39

3,335 2

Puducherry

1,27,259 49

647 4

1,24,763 53

1,849

Manipur

1,22,432 69

1,444 15

1,19,099 84

1,889

Mizoram

1,10,719 901

13,601 435

96,744 1,332

374 4

Tripura

84,295 4

110 8

83,369 12

816

Meghalaya

82,734 87

892 31

80,411 115

1,431 3

Chandigarh

65,295 10

32 5

64,443 15

820

Arunachal Pradesh

54,958 4

202 22

54,476 26

280

Sikkim

31,722 6

224 1

31,108 7

390

Nagaland

31,516 9

230 8

30,613 17

673

Ladakh

20,867 6

44 2

20,615 4

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,675

3 1

10,668 1

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

2 0

10,312

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,640 3

10 1

7,501 2

129

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