New Delhi: In a big move on Wednesday, the Indian Council of Medical Research approved a home-based testing kit for COVID-19.
Pune-based Mylab Discovery Solutions will launch India's first self-use rapid antigen test (RAT) kit for Covid-19 for Rs 250 per pack.
The top medical body advised that the RAT kit be used by only symptomatic individuals and immediate contacts of people who tested positive in the laboratory. It also warned against Indiscriminate testing.
"All individuals who test positive may be considered as true positives and no-repeat testing is required... All symptomatic individuals who test negative by RAT should get themselves immediately tested by RTPCR," the ICMR said.
With this approval, ICMR has taken the load off laboratories as with more people developing symptoms, the labs are swamped with calls for reports or collection of samples.
The move is also expected to make testing widely available and accessible, particularly in rural areas. Besides, home-based RAT would also mean symptomatic people will not necessarily have to step out for testing, lowering the risk of transmission.
The testing kit is not available in the market immediately and will take some time to be widely available.
The home test should be conducted according to the comprehensive guide detailed in an app providing a positive or negative test result to the patient. The app is available to download from Google play store and the Apple store.
"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," the ICMR said.
The data from the phone will be centrally captured in a secure server that is connected with the ICMR COVID-19 testing portal, where all data will be eventually stored.
The medical body also assured that patient confidentiality will be fully maintained.
Over the last 24 hours, 20,08,296 samples have been tested in a new record.
India on Wednesday logged 2.67 lakh new cases, taking the overall count to 2.54 crore and the number of active cases to 1,27,046. The number of deaths in the same period set a grim global record. The figure, 4,529, breached the highest daily deaths registered by the United States in January (4,475).