J&K government introduces rapid antigen testing

Representational Pic

Jammu and Kashmir government has introduced rapid antigen testing kits for screening travelers for COVID19. With this, the visitors to J&K will now get corona test results within15 minutes.

The antigen testing, according to officials, will ramp up testing rate and also spare inbound travelers the unnecessary trouble of remaining in administrative quarantine till their reports came.

Officials informed that antigen testing has been started in Kashmir and so far over 3000 rapid tests have been done in the past couple of days.

According to official data, 880 non-local labourers were screened for COVID19 using antigen testing kits on Friday across 10 districts of Kashmir, of which 56 came out as positive.

“After lot of hard work, the directorate of health services Kashmir has introduced rapid antigen test kits in Kashmir,” said Dr. Qazi Haroon, OSD, Directorate of Health Services Kashmir.

He said the department of health services in the coming days will conduct antigen testing for air and surface travelers entering Kashmir region.

“They would come to know about their result in 15 minutes; those testing negative will be free to go, while as the positive patients will be treated as per the protocols,” he said.

Jammu and Kashmir Administration on Thursday issued protocols for passengers arriving in the Union Territory through the air, rail or road.

“All passengers arriving by air, rail or road into the UT of Jammu and Kashmir shall be 100 per cent tested for COVID-19 antigen using the RT-PCR or Rapid Antigen Test or prescribed method,” an official release said.

An antigen is a protein (in this case present on the virus) that induces an immune response in the body in the form of production of antibodies against a disease, and detecting its presence through an antigen-based test determines a present infection.

The antigen based kit largely being used currently, especially by governments, is Indian Council of Medical Research approved ‘Standard Q COVID-19 Ag detection kit’ developed by SD Biosensor, a South Korea based company that has its manufacturing unit in Manesar, Gurugram.

Delhi was the first state to start antigen based Covid-19 testing last month, and other states that have deployed antigen testing in a significant way include Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and some north Eastern states. Experts say it is a good tool to perform mass testing.