The third wave of Covid-19 has spread at a frightening pace across India. Due to this, there has been a sudden increase in the demand for self-testing kits across the country. The self-testing kits offer a rapid antigen test which helps in the preliminary diagnosis of the virus. The price of these RAT kits starts from around Rs 250, making them an alternative to the RT-PCR tests performed by healthcare technicians.
Besides being cheap, the self-testing kits also ensure that you don’t need to step out of our house for getting diagnosed. While individuals can easily perform tests sitting at home, are these kits reliable?
Dr Vikas Maurya, HOD and Director-Pulmonology at Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, told Economic Times that RAT self-tests are less reliable than RT-PCR diagnosis and have a higher rate of false-negative or false-positive results.
Why is RT-PCR called the ‘gold standard’ for COVID testing?
The RT-PCR is the most reliable option for detecting Covid-19 as it studies the ribonucleic acid (RNA) genome in the sample. To give a more accurate result, it detects the genetic component of the virus. The key to this is because RT-PCR can detect the virus even in asymptomatic individuals. While even an RT-PCR test is not 100 percent foolproof, it is still the safest option for Covid-19 diagnosis.
Yes, RT-PCR might seem like a costlier option but it is the best option out there as far as testing for coronavirus is concerned. Various administrations have also said they will look into a decrease in price. In Chandigarh, the administration has already slashed the prices of RT-PCR rest to Rs 299.
The Covid-19 cases continue to be reported from across the country though Monday saw a marginal dip. The total number of cases is close to 2.5 lakh but that’s around 5% less than yesterday. The bulk of the cases continue to be from Maharashtra which reported over 41,000 Covid-19 infections while the national capital Delhi reported 18,286 new cases.