March 29, 2020

The Indian Council of Medical Research invited bids for an estimated 10 lakh antibody kits (for serological tests) for the diagnosis of COVID-19.


  • Viral infections are mainly identified by two kinds of tests– genetic and serological.

  • Genetic tests can identify infections that are active, but cannot be used to detect past infections. This is what serological tests seek to determine.

  • Unlike genetic tests, which look for RNA in swab samples, serological tests work on antibodies in blood samples. Hence, they are also called ‘antibody tests’.

  • To disable a pathogen, the antibody latches to a unique protein molecule on pathogen’s surface, called an antigen. Serological tests use antigen molecules to detect the presence of antibodies relevant to the infection.

  • Such tests are relatively inexpensive, and can display results within a few minutes.