According to a report entitled “India’s poor virus detection system is like a coin toss” on August 17, the US News Agency said that India tried to control its rapid increase in new coronavirus infection cases by increasing the use of fast but insensitive virus detection.
from a global perspective, India is one of the countries with the fastest epidemic development and also virus detection One of the lowest rates. At the end of June this year, India began to use rapid antigen testing to improve its own virus detection capability. However, the false negative results of these rapid tests are as high as 50% of the time, which may cover up the real situation of India’s epidemic development and further challenge the country’s anti epidemic efforts.
bharram balgawa, director general of the Indian Council of medical research, told reporters at a briefing in New Delhi that 25% to 30% of India’s daily virus tests are rapid antigen tests. This is the first time that a major research institution in India has released the test data – the website of the Indian Medical Research Council still does not specify what types of tests are carried out in the daily data. Even the latest detection data of 64888 times in New Delhi and other cities as of May 12 showed that the latest detection of antigen was carried out in New Delhi.
what’s worse, the use of rapid detection may allow some infected people to return to the community freely and spread the pathogen to more people. In the Philippines, a large number of false negative results were found in the virus tests on returning workers, which meant that when they were allowed to go home, they would take the virus to a new place, triggering a surge in cases.
most other countries with large-scale outbreaks, such as Britain and the United States, use RT-PCR to detect genetic material of new coronavirus. Although experts say rapid antigen testing can help countries with uncontrolled outbreaks quickly identify hot spots, India’s practice of mixing rapid detection with traditional RT-PCR data may mask the real situation of the epidemic.
other tests, such as serum tests or antibody tests in high-risk populations, are calculated separately. The U.S. testing system has recently been fiercely attacked by Microsoft founder, billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates. The country has not made every effort to expand its testing facilities to detect as many viruses as possible.
Peter collinion, Professor of clinical medicine at the Australian National University School of medicine, said: “I don’t think it’s scientific to mix the two tests together. If the sensitivity of rapid antigen detection is only 50% compared with PCR detection, and the community transmission rate is high, then they are not very good detection methods, and the results may be similar to tossing coins
the problem is not the faster virus detection itself. Rapid antigen detection is considered to be an effective strategy for large-scale virus detection – it is faster, cheaper and less complex than molecular detection. The cost of the quick test is about 450 rupees (about $6), while the government stipulates that molecular testing costs no more than 2400 rupees.
Prabhat JHA, Professor of global health and epidemiology at the Dala Lana School of public health at the University of Toronto, said: “the basic approach should be to conduct virus detection as widely as possible, but the results of rapid antigen detection and RT-PCR detection should be treated separately to study the development trend of each test result separately.
India’s mixing of test results for different types of viruses is part of the larger problem of data opacity in India. Experts say the opacity of the data has hindered India’s efforts to fight the epidemic.