NEW DELHI 

An Indian molecular diagnostics company on Thursday received commercial approval for an antigen testing kit for the novel coronavirus.

The product, named the Pathocatch COVID-19 Antigen Rapid testing kit, was developed and manufactured in India by Mylab Discovery Solutions, the company said in a statement.

“The kit will be available for orders immediately and will be priced around Rs 450 ($6),” it added.

As the pandemic surges across the country, more Indian states are allowing rapid antigen-based testing.

Health experts believe that to keep up with the pace of infections, India needs a combination of both antigen and the more reliable but slower RT-PCR testing (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction).

Those whose antigen tests come back positive are considered to have contracted the virus, while negative antigen test results are confirmed with an RT-PCR test.

Meanwhile, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India surpassed 1.2 million on Thursday with the highest single-day spike of 45,720 cases and 1,129 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health data. The total number of cases now stands at 1,238,635.

So far, 782,607 people have recovered, while 29,861 died, official figures indicate.

The Indian Council of Medical Research has said that so far, 15 million samples have been tested, including 350,823 that were tested since Wednesday evening.

Since originating in China last December, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed over 623,000 lives in 188 countries and regions.

More than 15.2 million cases have been reported worldwide, while an excess of 8.6 million patients have recovered, according to figures compiled by US-based Johns Hopkins University.

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