Govt approves antibody tests


The government has approved the rapid antibody testing procedure for COVID-19, a long-pending issue in Bangladesh, as cases and deaths from the illness are still rising.

“I have given the permission to launch the testing procedure. It will start now,” Health Minister Zahid Maleque said on Sunday, announcing the development.

The procedure will be used to determine if a person has the antibodies created in them to fight the virus.

An antibody test looks for antibodies that are made by the immune system in response to a threat, such as a specific virus. Antibodies can help fight infections. Antibodies can take several days or weeks to develop after people have an infection and may stay in their blood for several weeks or more after recovery.

There is a caveat. For the coronavirus disease, researchers still do not know if the presence of antibodies means that they are immune to COVID-19 in the future.

A rapid antibody testing kit can be used for sero-surveillance, convulsant plasma therapy and research.

According to the policy designed by Bangladesh, a rapid test kit must have these words written on its package: ‘this is not a diagnostic kit; the kit will be used only for detecting antibody, not in the acute stage’.

The combined sensitivity immunoglobulin M, which is developed at the beginning of the infection and immunoglobulin G, which is developed later, should be 90 percent in the kit and specificity should be 95 percent, according to the policy.

The sensitivity mentioned here describes the percentage of antibodies found in the blood after 14 days of COVID-19 symptoms subside.

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