20,000 antigen tests to be held in Bengaluru from today

Team Udayavani, Jul 11, 2020, 7:16 AM IST

Bengaluru: Grappling with a sharp spike in COVID-19 cases, Karnataka government said it would conduct 20,000 rapid antigen tests in Bengaluru from Saturday, July 11.

The government said it hopes that the rapid antigen tests would help in increasing the number of tests and bring down the load on testing on labs, as antigen kits would allow faster diagnosis without laboratory examination.

“We have taken steps to conduct about 20,000 antigen tests from tomorrow (July 11) itself, one lakh antigen kits have come, we will get two lakh more antigen kits,” state Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar said.

Speaking to reporters here, he said 20,000 tests would be held in Bengaluru alone and there was a plan to scale upto 50,000 in the city. The government had placed orders for one lakh test kits the consignment of which have arrived, and it now plans to procure two lakh more such kits.

According to a health department official, rapid- antigen test is an easy and cheaper method as compared to the real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

Antigen test can provide results within 30 minutes as compared to RT-PCR test that takes three-four hours, they said, adding that each testing kit costs about Rs 450.

Detailing about the testing, Commissioner for Health and Family Welfare Pankaj Kumar Pandey said, “We have got one lakh antigen testing kits out of which 50,000 have been reserved for Bengaluru and the remaining 50,000 have been sent to various districts,” he said. “Out of the 50,000 for Bengaluru, we will immediately start with 20,000 in the city and the rest will be used in coming days, so that our testing capacity increases,” he said. Stating that antigen tests” biggest advantage is that it would immediately be known whether the person is COVID-19 positive, Pandey said, “If a person is negative in antigen testing and is symptomatic his swab will be drawn for RT-PCR testing, while if a person is asymptomatic and tests negative, he is sent back home.” “Antigen test will bring down the load on our labs and it will help us in increasing the number of tests and isolating,” he added.

As of July 10 evening, cumulatively 33,418 COVID-19 positive cases have been confirmed in the state, out of which of 15,329 infections are from Bengaluru.

A total of 1,447 out of 2,313 fresh cases reported on Friday were from the capital city.

A total of 7,79,209 samples were tested so far in the state mostly by RT-PCR method, out of which 19,228 were tested on Friday.

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