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NEW DELHI: As Covid-19 cases continue to rise, corporates and individuals have started seeking antibody tests to check whether they have been infected at some stage or need to be extra careful to prevent the infection.
Major diagnostic labs and even hospitals said there is an increasing demand for such tests that help detect antibodies in blood to indicate whether a person has been infected or not. However, stringent regulations and restrictions on such tests in some states, including a price cap in Haryana and Tamil Nadu, have limited the use of antibody tests, industry executives said.
Private labs are expecting the demand to increase and all states to relax regulations after the Centre’s advisory on Friday asking states to make tests available on demand. Antibody tests are blood-based tests that can be used to identify if a person was exposed to the infection by detecting presence of antibodies. There are two kind of tests — total antibody and IgG antibody test. The IgG test helps detect specific antibodies and is more accurate in terms of indicating whether an individual has been exposed to the novel coronavirus, said experts.
At present, major private labs are conducting up to 1,000-1,400 antibody tests per day across the country. However, the distribution is not uniform and varies from state to state.
“The demand for these tests had slumped after an initial take-off. But now, the tests have evolved and the government is using it widely in many states for serosurvey. The positivity is mostly uniform and that has triggered a renewed interest. People are generally curious and they want to be know whether they have these antibodies,” said SRL Diagnostics CEO Anand K.
Doctors said that as offices are opening up and people are increasingly stepping out of homes, there is an eagerness to know whether they have already been infected. Also, because a significant percentage of the cases are asymptomatic, antibody tests are helpful. It also reassures an individual that he or she might have developed some immunity. These tests are usually successful in detecting antibodies if conducted after 14-30 days of exposure to the virus.

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