ICMR approves home-testing kit for COVID-19, to cost Rs 250: Here's all you need to know

Amid rising coronavirus cases in the country, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Wednesday approved a home-based rapid antigen testing (RAT) kit for COVID-19, which it advised should be used only on symptomatic individuals and 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 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.

According to a report by Hindustan Times, the test kit will be available in the market in about a week’s time and will be priced at Rs 250 per kit.

A positive test will take about 5 to 7 minutes, and a negative result will take 15 minutes max, Hindustan Times quoted Hasmukh Rawal, managing director, Mylab Discovery Solutions.

In an advisory, the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) cautioned people against indiscriminate home testing using Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs), saying it should be used only on symptomatic individuals and on the immediate contacts of laboratory confirmed positive cases.

All individuals who test positive through the RAT kit may be considered as true positives and no repeat testing is required, the Indian Council of Medical Research said in the advisory.

"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 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 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.

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