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Covid: Bengal govt asks hospitals to conduct rapid antigen test

The healthcare centres have been told that the 'sample for RT-PCR test must be taken' if the RAT report of symptomatic patients come back negative
The rules for the rapid antigen test make it clear that someone who tests positive in the RAT should be considered as positive. But someone who has symptoms of Covid-19 but tests negative in the RAT must undergo the RT-PCR test.
The rules for the rapid antigen test make it clear that someone who tests positive in the RAT should be considered as positive. But someone who has symptoms of Covid-19 but tests negative in the RAT must undergo the RT-PCR test.
PTI

Subhajoy Roy   |   Calcutta   |   Published 12.05.21, 01:55 AM

The state health department on Tuesday asked all hospitals to conduct the rapid antigen test for Covid on patients arriving with symptoms of the disease but not carrying any report.

The hospitals have also been told that the “sample for RT-PCR test must be taken” if the rapid test of people with Covid symptoms come back negative.

In an advisory issued on Tuesday, the department acknowledged that treatment of Covid patients is getting delayed because of a delay in getting RT-PCR test results. The rapid antigen test can throw up false negatives, while the RT-PCR test is considered the gold standard in Covid diagnosis. It also mentioned that “in case of symptomatic patients with a negative RAT (rapid antigen test) result, samples for the RT-PCR test must be taken and the patient should be kept in an isolation ward”.

The rules for the rapid antigen test make it clear that someone who tests positive in the RAT should be considered as positive. But someone who has symptoms of Covid-19 but tests negative in the RAT must undergo the RT-PCR test. “A person will test positive for Covid in the RAT only if he or she has a high viral load,” said Sisir Naksar, the superintendent of MR Bangur Hospital, a designated Covid hospital. 

The Telegraph reported on Monday that people with Covid symptoms got a false sense of security when they tested negative in the RAT. Many hospitals and diagnostic centres are not telling people undergoing the RAT that it is not a confirmatory test, unlike the RT-PCR test.



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