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Saturday, 19 September 2020

Private practitioners use non-diagnostic antibody tests to make a quick buck

Karam Prakash

Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 18

Private practitioners with the connivance of labs are brazenly conducting antibody tests to detect the Covid infection. However, experts are of the view that the said test is not a confirmatory one and is conducted just to find out if a person was exposed to the virus at some point in the past.

Experts said labs were conducting these tests without the permission of the state government. The samples were sent outside the city, especially to private labs in New Delhi, they said.

"Antibody tests never determine whether a person is currently infected, therefore, many positive cases go undetected and they can spread the infection," they said.

Many private labs and doctors are reportedly minting money by claiming that the antibody test was a confirmatory test for the virus. The ICMR has already stated that the RT-PCR is the standard test for the detection of the virus, whereas the antibody test can be used only for surveillance purposes.

A health official said, "Some private hospitals and labs in the district are collecting samples for antibody tests and fooling innocent patients by claiming that the said test is a confirmatory one. It is noteworthy that the antibody test is only useful for confirming past exposure to SARS-CoV2 and has no value in the early stages of the disease."

The district health department has also warned of strict action against those misguiding the patients.

The Patiala Civil Surgeon, Dr Harish Malhotra, said, "We have not authorised any lab or doctor in the district to conduct antibody tests. We will take strict action if anyone is found misguiding suspected patients by claiming antibody test as a confirmatory test."

from The Tribune

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