They found that the new test had 96% sensitivity and 98% specificity. The accuracy of a test is based on these two proportions. A test that’s highly sensitive will detect almost everyone who has the disease; and a test that’s has high-specificity will correctly rule out almost everyone who doesn’t have the disease.
The first ensures not too many false negative results; and the second not too many false positives. India’s drug regulator has cleared the test for commercial use.
“India has the opportunity to show the value of this test, because it has such a big population and it’s coming right at the time when it is needed,” Dr Kissler said. “If their efficacy is demonstrated, it can have benefits that ripple around the world.”
A vaccine will be vital for fully recovering from the pandemic, but according to Dr Kissler, reliable, accessible testing is also key to achieve “a sense of normalcy”.
“In the ideal world I envision, taking a test will be as easy as brushing your teeth or making toast,” he said.