Covid-19 antigen test for every patient in four hospitals in Odisha

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The Naveen Patnaik-led Odisha government has decided to conduct the rapid antigen test (RAT) for all coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients and healthcare staff in four hospitals in Cuttack city after they reported 135 viral outbreak cases in the past week.

Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra, additional chief secretary (ACS), health department, said RAT would be conducted on the following hospitals in Cuttack city -- SCB Medical College & Hospital, Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre, Sishu Bhawan, and City Hospital.

Data showed that these four hospitals have reported 135 Covid-19 positive cases in the past week, including Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre (111) and SCB Medical College & Hospital (22).

On Monday, a warden in Cuttack’s Choudwar Circle Jail also tested Covid-19 positive after he reportedly came in contact with an inmate, who is undergoing treatment at Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre.

The ACS said all patients undergoing treatment in these hospitals would undergo RAT along with those who are seeking fresh admission.

He said that patients have been urged not to visit these hospitals’ outpatient departments (OPDs) until Wednesday (July 8), unless there is an emergency.

The Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) authorities have enforced lockdown restrictions in the ancient and densely-populated city until Wednesday and would quarantine people, who are found to be visiting its slums from Covid-19 hotspot districts such as Khurda and Ganjam.

Cuttack district has reported 813 Covid-19 positive cases to date, including 190 under CMC’s jurisdiction.

RAT can quickly detect SARS-CoV-2 and the procedure is also inexpensive, as compared to the conventional reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

In the case of RAT, mucus is collected from the back of a person’s throat or nose using a swab that is dipped into a liquid to release the virus. Later, the liquid is applied to the surface of a test slide coated with antibodies.

A second mixture of antibodies, which is chemically modified with a dye, is subsequently applied to the slide.

These antibodies are visible to both the naked eye and fluorescent light. If the swab sample contains SARS-CoV-2, the dye will become visible, underlining the viral infection.

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