With India reporting record-high numbers of COVID-19 positive cases every day earlier this month, there has been an increased strain on our testing facilities. Private laboratories even had to halt the home sample collection for lack of staff and resources. Doctors were advising self-isolation even before one’s results were in because of the delay in getting results.
To ease this burden, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved a home-testing kit that will be available for Rs 250 across pharmacies. This kit has been manufactured by Pune-based Mylab Discovery Solutions Ltd.
“These kits will be available in pharmacies across the country by early next week. We have a channel partner we have tied up with and aim to reach as many as 95 per cent pincodes in the country,” says Dr Gautam Wankhede, Medical Affairs Director at Mylab, speaking to The Better India.
He adds, “In countries like the UK and US, where these tests were made available to the general public about four months ago, the benefits have been immense. Children going to school in the UK have to take this test twice a week. That is perhaps the only way to break the chain and curtain this pandemic.”
Things to know:
- This is a rapid antigen test (RAT) that should be used only by those exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or have come in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
- If you test positive, it is required that you follow all protocols and self-isolate immediately.
- Given that the RAT is less sensitive as compared to the reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test that is currently being carried out, the chances of false negatives are high.
- The self-testing kit has been designed in a manner that is safe for it to be used at home and is not being considered a biohazard.
- The self-testing kit comes along with a disposable bag which should be used once the test has been taken.
- For the result to be displayed it will take up to 15 minutes.
- Each pack will have one testing kit.
- While this test can be done for children above the age of 2, an adult must administer the swab in case of a minor taking the test.
How to test?
- The kit contains the following:
- A pre-filled extraction tube
- A sterile nasal swab
- One test card
- A biohazard bag.
- The person undertaking the test will have to download the Mylab Coviself app on their mobile phone. This app is available for android and IOS devices.
- The nasal swab needs to be inserted into both the nostrils up to 2 to 4 cm or until resistance is met.
- The swab, once inside the nostril, will have to be rolled five times on each side.
- Once done, the swab must be immediately immersed in the pre-filled tube.
- The swab must then be broken into two.
- Put two drops one after the other by pressing the tube over the test card strip provided and wait for 15 minutes for the result.
- If the result takes 20 minutes or more, consider it invalid and re-test.
- The test card has two sections, if a bar appears only on the side labelled ‘C’, consider the test negative. However, if the bar appears on both ‘C’ and ‘T’, then consider the test to be positive.
- To maintain a record of the report, the person using the kit has to put the test card under the mobile phone camera to enable the app to read the test and upload the results.
For more information, click here.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)