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Now, ICMR approves CoviSelf home-testing kit for COVID-19. All you need to know

How do you take the swab, and how do you check for the results?

PTI02-07-2020_000103B Representational image

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, CoviSelf, 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.

How to conduct the swab

Initially, the Mylab CoviSelf app should be downloaded from the Google Play Store and Apple store. The mobile app is a comprehensive guide of the testing procedure.

According to the instructions from the MyLab manual, the kit contains a pre-filled extraction tube, a nasal card, a test swab and a biohazard bag. Initially, personal details will need to be filled in to the CoviSelf app and a QR code on the test device should be scanned to link to your credentials. The sterile swab kit should be inserted into both nostrils (2-4 cms until resistance is met) and rolled about five times to make sure that adequate sample is collected.

The swab is then dipped into the pre-filled extraction tube, and two full drops of the mixture should be added to the sample well of the test device. Wait for about 15 minutes.

There are two sections on the device—the Control 'C' and the Test 'T'. If a line appears in both the 'C' and 'T' sections, the result is positive. If a line appears only in the 'C' section, the result is negative. 

ICMR advisory

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.

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