Go-ahead for home test kit for COVID, ICMR issues guidelines

The kit is expected to make testing accessible, particularly in rural areas; symptomatic people won’t necessarily have to go out for testing, thus lowering the risk of transmission

The mobile app is a comprehensive guide of the testing procedure, the ICMR said. File Photo

The Indian Council of Medical Research on Wednesday (May 19) gave its go-ahead for a home-based Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) kit for COVID-19, which will be available soon in the market and can be used for detecting positive cases in home setting. The ICMR has issued detailed guidelines on its usage.

The apex research body of the government says only symptomatic individuals and immediate contacts of people who tested positive in the laboratory should use the home test. “Indiscriminate testing is not advised,” it said.

The test kit is expected to make testing accessible, particularly in rural areas. It also means that symptomatic people won’t necessarily have to go out for testing, thus lowering the risk of transmission.

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“All individuals who test positive may be considered as true positives and no repeat testing is required… All symptomatic individuals who test negative by RAT should get themselves immediately tested by RTPCR,” the ICMR said.

Pune-based Mylab Discovery Solutions Ltd has created the CoviSelfTM (PathoCatch) COVID-19 OTC Antigen LF device. The home test should be conducted according to the process detailed in the app, which should be downloaded from the Google Play Store and Apple Store, the ICMR said.

“The mobile app is a comprehensive guide of the testing procedure and will provide a positive or negative test result to the patient. All users are advised to click a picture of the test strip after completing the test procedure with the same mobile phone,” the ICMR said.

The data from the phone will be centrally captured in a secure server which is connected with the ICMR COVID-19 testing portal, where all data will be eventually stored. The medical body also assured that patient confidentiality will be fully maintained.

Also read: Who should or shouldn’t take the COVID-19 vaccine 

Over the last 24 hours, 20,55,010 samples have been tested in India in a new record, but it is not yet at a level close to India’s full capacity. The country has a capacity of conducting 33 lakh tests a day, but the daily average is 18 lakh — up from 10 lakh on April 1. This means nearly 45 per cent of the country’s testing capacity remains unused.

With 2,76,110 new infections being reported in a day, India’s total tally of COVID cases climbed to 2,57,72,440, while the daily deaths were recorded below 4,000 after four days, taking the toll to 2,87,122, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 32,23,56,187 samples have been tested up to May 19.

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