SARS‑CoV‑2 Testing in India: Please Mind the Gaps

Kanchan Mukherjee


This letter shares insights into the pandemic data situation in India based on a longitudinal study of SARS‑CoV‑2 testing rates and policy. In the initial phase of the pandemic (which included a 68‑day national lockdown period), the testing policy was entirely based on reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT–PCR) (gold standard). However, during the unlock phase, on June 23, 2020, a rapid antigen test (RAT) with a moderate field sensitivity (50%–60%) was approved for testing. The lockdown period curtailed all non‑essential movement of people, whereas subsequent unlock phases allowed movement based on the local situation. However, the virus had already spread before the lockdown started[1] and hence fast, effective testing was critical for the test‑isolate‑track/ treat strategy for infection prevention. Analysis of the testing speed over 1 year shows a 287 times increase in testing rate in the initial 90 days after lockdown was initiated, followed by a steep and steady decline over time after the introduction of RAT in the unlock phase


COVID‑19; Pandemics; SARS‑CoV‑2; Testing; India; Gaps

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