ICMR Current Affairs - 2020

Largest COVID-19 facility in Delhi

The Delhi Government is to convert the Radha Soami Spiritua Centre into a COVID-19 care facility. The centre is as large as 22 football fields.

Highlights

The centre will the largest COVID-19 facility in the world. It will hold more than 200 halls with 10,000 beds. This is being done to ramp up the capacity of beds in the capital region.

What is the plan?

The Government of Delhi is planning to accommodate 50 patients in a hall. The halls are to get adequate lighting and fans. The halls will also be provided with coolers. Separate tents are to be constructed. It is to be ready for treatment of patients by June 30, 2020.

The centre will also have provisions for accommodation of doctors.

Background

The number of COVID-19 cases suddenly increased suddenly with 44,688 cases. The Delhi Government will also start the Rapid Antigen Test to increase COVID-19 testing in the region. It is to be noted that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recently approved the test to increase the testing potential of the country.

With the increase in testing, more number of cases are likely to be hospitalized. Hence, the number of bed requirements is to increase.

Rapid Antigen Test Kits recommended

On June 15, 2020, the Indian Council of Medical Research recommended the use of Rapid Antigen test kits along with RT-PCR in containment zones.

Highlights

The Antigen test kits will allow faster diagnosis. They will reduce laboratory examination. The maximum time taken by the Rapid antigen test to interpret positive or negative is 30 minutes.

Recommendations of ICMR

According to ICMR, individuals that test negative to COVID-19 in rapid antigen test should be tested with RT-PCR. On the other hand, individuals testing positive under the rapid antigen test are considered to be positive.

Antigen Test Kits

The Antigen Test kits were developed by a South Korea based company SD Biosensor.

Why SD Biosensor kit was chosen?

The USFDA had earlier authorized US based antigen kit called sofia 2 SARS Antigen kit. Also, Japan had authorized the Fujirebio’s Antigen test kit. However, with tests and analysis conducted by AIIMS and ICMR, India was satisfied with the performance of SD Biosensor antigen kit. The selection was done based on the specificity and sensitivity of the kits.

The specificity of the test is 99.3% to 100%. The sensitivity of the test ranged between 50.6% and 84%.

What is Antigen test?

Just like the RT-PCR test of COVID-19, the antigen testing also looks for virus rather than the antibodies. Antigens are foreign substances that induce immune system in the body.

What is the plan?

The Antigen Test is to be used in three categories as follows

  • Persons showing influenza like symptoms
  • Asymptomatic patients hospitalized for the treatment of malignant disease, immunosuppressed patients, transplant patients, etc.
  • Asymptomatic patients undergoing aerosol and surgical interventions such as surgical procedures, dialysis and bronchoscopy.

Limitations of Antigen test

According USFDA, the antigen testing is not as sensitive as that of RT-PCR testing. The sample collected for COVID-19 testing stays stable only for an hour. Therefore, its is essential to conduct the antigen testing at the  site of sample collection.