Mumbai: Doctors welcome ICMR’s nod to COVID-19 self-testing kit

Doctors have welcomed the Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) approval of the first COVID-19 self-testing kit that will allow users to take an indicative test at home. However, they believe citizens need to be truthful if they test positive and must immediately inform the civic bodies about it.

Self-testing kits will help curb COVID-19 cases quickly. Treatment can start immediately if an individual tests positive. However, the civic body will have to keep a close check on those who are using these kits at home. Dr Rahul Pandit, director, critical care, Fortis Hospitals Mumbai, and member of Maharashtra’s COVID-19 taskforce, said approving self-testing kits is a good move. More cases will be timely detected and curbed. However, the individual needs to be truthful about the result and inform the respective health officer of the ward so that they can take appropriate measures.

“For now, the cases are under control and we have been able to contain the spread of the virus. With Coviself, citizens do not have to depend on laboratories to get themselves tested for the virus. They can do it at home. If they are positive, with or without symptoms, they should mandatorily inform the health officer of their respective ward, get themselves admitted and start the treatment,” he said.

Senior doctors treating COVID-19 patients at the civic-run hospitals said self-testing for COVID-19 at home will increase the work pressure. Also, a separate team would have to be formed to monitor those who are using the kit.

“Many factors have to be considered before permitting the use of such kits. We have to be prepared with all the facilities. Even now, people are scared to disclose if they are positive. If we allow COVID-19 testing at home, then there is no guarantee that people will be truthful about their results,” said a doctor.

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