Prelims level : Disaster Management Mains level : GS-III Disaster Management
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Why in News?

  • The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) public guidelines to manage a large outbreak and guidelines on use of rapid antibody test kits.


  • The Health Ministry has stated that 30% (about 1,000 positive cases spread across 17 States) of India’s total case count is attributable to one event, the Tablighi Jamaat gathering in Delhi.
  • Hence India’s official position is that there is no evidence of community transmission in the country.

The Plan for Large Outbreaks, Specifies:

  • Active surveillance for cases and contacts in the Identified Geographic Zone
    • Expansion of laboratory capacity for testing of all suspect cases of high-risk contacts and Sever Acute Respiratory Illness cases
    • Operationalizing surge capacities created for isolation (COVID-19 hospitals/COVID-19 dedicated blocks) to hospitalize and manage all suspect/confirmed cases
    • Implementing physical distancing measures with strict perimeter control
    • Providing chemoprophylaxis with hydroxy-chloroquine to all asymptomatic healthcare workers and asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory confirmed cases.
    • Given the increasing need for more testing and the fact that hundreds of antibody kit manufacturers have been approved in India to offer tests, ICMR has also issued detailed guidelines on the use of rapid antibody testing kits.

Antibody Testing Kits:

  • The real-time RT-PCR kits are used to detect an ongoing infection. Unlike RT-PCR kits, the antibody testing kits can indicate if a person has ever been infected by the virus and gives authorities an estimate of whether there are asymptomatic carriers of the infection in a community.
  • The antibody testing kits can give results within 15 minutes to Two Hours.
  • However, testing negative via an antibody kit doesn’t automatically rule out infection and needs to be supplemented by a PCR test.
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