Explained: How antibody test for COVID-19 is different from PCR test

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News: Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has sought price quotes for the supply of 10 lakh antibody kits (serological test) for diagnosis of COVID-19.

Facts:

  • Two types of tests for viral infections: Genetic and serological
  • Genetic test: It is conducted on a swab collected from the back of the throat, a liquid sample from the lower respiratory tract, or a simple saliva sample.
  • Serological Test: It is a blood test to detect the presence of antibodies against a microorganism.
  • Advantage of Serological Test over Genetic Test:. Serological tests help detect and trace past infections while genetic tests can only identify infections that are active. They are relatively cheaper than genetic tests.

Additional Facts:

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR):

  • It  is the apex and premier medical research organization in India. 
  • Function: planning, formulation, coordination, implementation and promotion of biomedical research.
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.