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ICMR Approves COVID-19 Home Test Kits for COVID-19, ‘Shouldn’t Be Overused’

ICMR Approves COVID-19 Home Test Kits for COVID-19, ‘Shouldn’t Be Overused’

A medic collects sample for COVID-19 testing, during the second wave of coronavirus in Bengaluru, Tuesday, May 18, 2021. Photo: PTI/Shailendra Bhojak

New Delhi: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Wednesday approved a home-based rapid antigen testing (RAT) kit for COVID-19. The body said this kit should be used only on symptomatic individuals or on immediate contacts of laboratory-confirmed positive cases.

The country’s apex health research body said that the home-based rapid antigen testing kit manufactured by Mylab Discovery Solutions Ltd, Pune, has been validated and approved.

Only a nasal swab will be required for this rapid antigen testing, it said, adding the process should be conducted as per the procedure described by the manufacturer in the user manual.

In an advisory, ICMR cautioned people against indiscriminate home testing using RATs. All individuals who test positive through the RAT kit may be considered as true positives and no repeat testing is required, it continued.

“Home testing by RAT is advised only in symptomatic individuals and immediate contacts of laboratory confirmed positive cases. Indiscriminate testing is not advised,” the county’s apex health research body said.

“All symptomatic individuals who test negative by RAT should get themselves immediately tested by RT-PCR. This is especially important as the RATs are likely to miss few positive cases presenting with a low viral load. All RAT negative symptomatic individuals may be treated as suspect COVID-19 cases and are advised to follow the ICMR/Ministry of Health home isolation protocol while awaiting the RT-PCR test result,” the advisory stated.

The ICMR said the home testing mobile app is available in Google play store and Apple store and must be downloaded by all users. The mobile app provides a comprehensive guide to the testing procedure and will give a positive or negative test result to the patient.

Also read: B.1.617 Is Becoming the Dominant Variant in India – and Creating Fears of a Global COVID Surge

All users are advised to click a picture of the test strip after completing the procedure with the same mobile phone which has been used for downloading the mobile app and user registration.

“Data in the app of your mobile 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. Patient confidentiality will be fully maintained,” the advisory underlined.

Presently, CoviSelfTM(PathoCatch) COVID-19 OTC Antigen LF device manufactured by Mylab Discovery Solutions Ltd., Pune (Maharashtra), India has been validated and approved, the ICMR said.

While laboratories across the country are said to be overwhelmed because of the second COVID-19 wave and several reports have talked about difficulties patients faced in booking tests or receiving results on times, NDTV reported that India is currently testing below its capacity.

India can conduct 33 lakh COVID-19 tests per day, but is current testing around 20 lakh people daily.

(With PTI inputs)

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