Rapid antibody tests for Covid-19 are for surveillance purpose only, an Indian High Court noted today and said a final decision on conducting such tests in containment zones across Maharashtra is to be taken by the state government.
The testing technique is used to detect antibodies in the blood of people who may have had coronavirus infection.
Maharashtra is the worst-hit among Indian states by the contagion with the highest number of 52,667 positive cases and 1,695 fatalities.
A division bench of the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court, Justices Ravi Deshpande and Amit Borkar, asked the Maharashtra state government to take an appropriate decision on a plea filed by a lawyer demanding that rapid antibody tests be conducted on people residing in places declared as Covid-19 containment zones.
Government pleader Sumant Deopujari told the court that these tests are done only for surveillance purposes and are not diagnostic tests.
He further told the court that the state government was mulling 'ELISA' test (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test-that detects antibodies in blood) for diagnosis of Covid-19.
The bench took note of this argument and said even the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) was of the opinion that rapid antibody tests were merely for surveillance purposes.
"Both the state and union government are of the unanimous opinion that the rapid antibody tests are not diagnostic tests," the court said.
"Hence, the petitioner's prayer seeking for this test to be conducted on all people living in containment zones would be of no avail as this is not a diagnostic test," the bench said.