June 8, 2021

Rapid Antigen Test for COVID-19: Evolution and Significance

SARS-CoV-2 uniquely causes infection. It manifests lately in the respiratory system and then brings about a total collapse of the immune response. One strain of the virus caused the first wave of COVID-19 infection. The mortality was although relatively low in the first wave. The overlapping symptoms of COVID-19 with other respiratory diseases posed a challenge for the proper diagnosis of the condition. It was of prime importance to develop a diagnostic mechanism to screen the infected people in the population. The idea was to contain the spread of the infection.

COVID-19 infection caused by the various antigenic proteins of SARS-CoV-2 virus: Spike (S), Nucleocapsid (N), Membrane (M), and Envelope (E) proteins. Of these, the Spike protein is more lethal than others. These viral antigens bind to host cells and produce in large numbers during the incubation period. This process manifests the infection wholly in the host system. the viral load triggers the entry of the virus and remains in high volume till the fifth day of the disease. It then decreases after that. Today, many virus strains are prevalent in the population, and each is more severe in pathogenesis than the precursor.

The early detection of the antigen can help in the diagnosis and treatment of the individual. The government-mandated the use of Rapid Card for Antigen testing at a very early stage of the pandemic. One year down the line, as of today, the whole recipe of antigen testing has changed. Since the virus is a novel one, the initial rapid cards used a cocktail of proteins from the Coronavirus family. As the strains mutated and the cohort was available with unique proteins, it became prudent to develop a kit that could ideally determine the severity of infection in the local population. The efficacy of the kit is determined when it can detect the disease in both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. It’s also paramount for the kit to detect the infection by all strains with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity.

J Mitra & Co took the challenge of developing an early detection antigen kit. With the help of in-house research and development, it succeeded in making the COVID-19 Antigen card. The authorities approve the kit, and various reputed institutes have evaluated this. The kit is also beneficial as it serves as a point of care testing device. The testing helps humankind most affordably and reliably.

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