India’s test and tracking working?

A faster but less reliable method of testing. Photo: Getty Images

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called on the country’s worst-affected states to give top superiority to testing and contact tracing to combat coronavirus.

Daily cases in India have been falling since mid-September but there’s concern that varied testing strategies may be preventing the battle against the disease.

What kind of test is India doing?

India had been using what’s known as a PCR test regarded as the gold standard of testing – very widely.

But currently, only 60% of all tests use this method and many Indian states – who are in charge of their own health policies have switched to rapid antigen testing (RAT) a faster but less reliable method.

RAT tests are known to miss up to 50% of cases due to false negatives (where infected people are not detected).

The ability to detect cases depends on a corresponding mix of the less sensitive RAT test and the gold standard PCR test. India isn’t alone in using these tests, and some European countries grappling with further waves of infection have also reported using rapid testing.

But India’s parliamentary committee on health and family welfare has said that poor contact tracing and less testing could have been a factor for the exponential growth of Covid.

Source: BBC News