In order to make Coronavirus testing a little easier, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has given a go ahead for the first Covid-19 self-testing kit that will allow users to simply take a Covid-19 indicative test at home.
In order to make Coronavirus testing a little easier, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has given a go ahead for the first Covid-19 self-testing kit that will allow users to simply take a Covid-19 indicative test at home. To be sure, anyone in India can now take their own nasal sample and test it for SARS-CoV-2. Developed by Mylab Discovery Solutions, the test kit has been made for those who have been witnessing Covid-19 symptoms. Starting from June 1, Indians can have their “do-it-yourself COVID-19 testing kit.”
Working of the self-testing kit
The kit is inclusive of a pre-filled extraction tube, sterile nasal swab along with a testing card as well as a biohazard bag. In order to use it, people will first have to download the CoviSelf app and fill in all their details. The app having individual data will connect it with the ICMR portal. This way, the government can access the data as well for their database.
The users before taking the test, will have to ensure that their hands are sanitised and the surface where the kit is placed is clean. Holding the swab by the tail-end, users can put the other end into their nose 2-4 cm inside, or until it touches the back of the nasal tract. After rubbing it there, the collected specimen can be swirled inside the extraction tube where it is mixed with the liquid inside. After this, the tube is to be closed tightly and two drops are to be spilled onto the testing card.
After 15 minutes the result will appear. If a person has Covid-19, two lines will appear on the testing card, one in front of the ‘t’ marker and the other in front of ‘c’ marker. If the test is negative, only one line will appear in front of the ‘c’ maker. No line will flash in case of test being invalid. After the test is done, the tube and swab is to be sealed inside the biohazard bag and to be disposed of as biomedical waste.
Who can use this test?
A report by the IE citing ICMR guidelines noted that those who have symptoms for Covid-19 or have been in high-risk after being in contact with positive patients will be needing to take the test at home. If the test comes as positive, people may not need RT-PCR. However, in case of persisting symptoms and negative test report, getting an RT-PCR test will be needed.
Availability and cost of self-testing kit
The self-testing kit, which gives results in 15 minutes, has been kept at a cost of Rs 250 across the country. It is to note that getting an RT-PCR test done can cost between Rs 400 and Rs 1,500 in different states whereas rapid antigen tests in laboratories are being conducted with a cost ranging between Rs 300 and Rs 900. A report by PTI noted that the company is aiming to stock as many as one crore test kits before they are rolled out for people to use. Shrikant Patole, its co-founder and director said that they are stocking it in order to ensure the threshold and the availability of the testing kit. As of now, around 10 lakh kits are being made in a day.
Reducing stress among people
With ramped up Covid-19 testing and long waiting hours before the results are out, the do-it-yourself home Covid-19 testing is likely to provide relief in terms of time, reduction in expenditure as well as stress of booking the appointments. Since people will not have to visit the labs or call technicians at home, risk of transmission is also reduced.