New Delhi: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Wednesday issued a protocol for all states and union territories for using rapid antibody test kits for coronavirus. The central nodal had earlier urged states to wait for two days before testing out the new kits after getting complaints regarding faulty diagnosis. Also Read - Coronavirus Cases in India Cross 1.9 Lakh-mark; Delhi Seals Border With UP, Haryana For 1 Week | Key Developments

The ICMR emphasized that the antibody rapid tests come second to the confirmatory test for the early detection of COVID-19 infection, that is, RT-PCR test of throat and/or nasal swab. The antibody tests, the research body noted, are largely used “as a tool for surveillance with respect to formation of antibody in persons exposed to the virus”. Also Read - Imran Khan Says it Was 'Mistake' to Enforce Strict Lockdown Even as COVID-19 Cases Cross 72,000-mark

“We have been given to understand that many States have procured such kits and on State’s request, ICMR has also arranged and made available rapid antibody test kits with the clear understanding that these tests cannot replace the RT-PCR tests to diagnose the COVID-19 cases,” the ICMR wrote to Chief Secretaries of states. Also Read - Coronavirus in Maharashtra: 2361 Cases, 76 Deaths in 24 Hours; Total Tally Crosses 70,000-mark

The antibody rapid tests are not suitable for vigourous coronavirus detections because the results also vary depending of the field conditions.

The ICMR, however, said it will continue to assist states in understanding the scope of these tests to be able to use it on a regular basis.