Hyderabad: After the Delhi High Court, the Telangana High Court also on Tuesday voiced its doubts as regards the efficacy of the Rapid Antigen Test for COVID.
The Chief Secretary to the state of Telangana informed the bench of Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan that the Government has already started using the Rapid Antigen Tests. The bench, also comprising Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy, was considering PILs praying for, inter alia, increase in COVID testing capacity.
The Chief Secretary conveyed that initially, the state had availability of 2,00,000 kits, and presently, the Government has ordered for 4,00,000 kits. “As soon as these kits are received, the same will be utilised for testing as large number of samples as possible, so as to increase the number of tests per million”, it was submitted on behalf of the state.
A counsel on the petitioner’s side also emphasised to the division bench the fact that according to the ICMR guidelines, the Government should be using more and more Rapid Antigen Tests.
However, the Court brought it to the notice of the Chief Secretary that there are, indeed, “media reports” which claim that the Rapid Antigen Testing is “not a very effective test”, as its “accuracy is only 40%”.
Therefore, the bench pointed out, a few States like Raiasthan, have already stopped the use of Rapid Antigen Testing as a diagnostic tool to discover the presence of coronavirus.
Accordingly, the court required the Chief Secretary to discuss the use of Rapid Antigen Testing Kits in the state with the High Power committee, already constituted by the Government, and with the experts in the field.
The decision as to whether the state should continue with the using of Rapid Antigen Tests, or should fall back on the traditional test such as Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), has been finally left to the government by the court.
Yesterday, the Delhi High Court also observed that almost 50% capacity of the RT-PCR tests are not being conducted by the Delhi Government.
While observing that despite having the capacity of conducting 11,000 RT-PCR tests per day the Delhi Government is only conducting 6,000 of such tests, the Division Bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad has further noted that the Delhi Government is more focused towards conducting the Rapid Antigen Testing despite knowing that RT-PCR is the golden test.