ICMR issues advisory for Covid home testing using RAT

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New Delhi: The ICMR on Wednesday issued an advisory stating that Covid-19 home testing using Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) is advised only in symptomatic individuals and immediate contacts of laboratory-confirmed positive cases.

“Indiscriminate testing is not advised. Home testing should be conducted as per procedure described by the manufacturer in the user manual,” the ICMR said.

Giving details of how to conduct this test, the ICMR said that it has approved one kit called CoviSelf for the purpose of home testing. Only nasal swab will be required for this rapid antigen testing.

CoviSelf test is “authorised for non-prescription home use with self-collected nasal swab specimens from individuals aged 18 years and older or with adult-collected samples from individuals aged 2 years or older”.

In its advisory, the ICMR said that this should not be used indiscriminately. Only those who have symptoms and those who are immediate contacts of laboratory-confirmed positive cases should opt for this home-based testing.

How to use the kit:

With the kit, a manual will come describing the entire process. The ICMR too gave the video links for the convenience of users from where one can see the steps to be followed.

The kit comes in a pouch containing a nasal swab and a pre-filled extraction tube and one test card.

For the test, the users will have to download the mylab app on their mobile phones, where the credentials have to be filled.

Without touching the swab head, insert the swab inside both the nostrils up to 2 to 3 centimetres. Roll the swab five times inside each nostril.

Dip the swab in the tube, pinch the tube at the bottom and swirl the nasal swab 10 times to ensure that the swab is immersed well in the tube.

The swab has to be broken from the breakpoint. Covering the tube, two drops have to be added to the test kit by pressing. One has to wait for 15 minutes for the results to appear. Any result appearing after 20 minutes is considered invalid.

At 15 minute, the app will ring and the result will be available on the app.

The ICMR in its guideline said that the data on the mobile app will be centrally connected to a secure server that is connected with the ICMR Covid-19 testing portal. There is no threat to patient confidentiality, the ICMR said.

All those who test positive do not require additional testing as this self-testing will be considered as true positives. Those who test negative may opt for RT-PCR testing. Such negative but symptomatic individuals may be treated as suspect Covid-19 cases.

 

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