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COVID home testing kits: ICMR Guidelines, reliability, availability, and preparations required for self-test

The COVID home test kits will come in handy at a time when the country continues to report a growing trajectory of daily COVID cases as users of this test will not need sample collection by a healthcare professional.

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COVID home testing kits: ICMR Guidelines, reliability, availability, and preparations needed to be done for self-test

COVID home testing kits: As the COVID-19 variant Omicron generated a renewed wave of infection cases in India, home test kits approved by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) seek to ease pressure on overburdened labs.

As per the ICMR guidelines, the self-use COVID test kit can be used by symptomatic individuals and immediate contacts of confirmed cases.

The COVID home test kits will come in handy at a time when the country continues to report a growing trajectory of daily COVID cases as users of this test will not need sample collection by a healthcare professional.

The COVID home test kits, which have now become a valuable resource, are available online and you can also buy them at pharmacies nearby.

Here’s a list of COVID home testing kits available in India:

Mylab CoviSelf: This COVID test kit is available at Rs 250 on Amazon. This kit can be used by adults of age 18 years and above, or with adult collected samples from those aged two years and above.

The tests must be performed with the CoviSelf App to register and report results. This product will have a minimum 6 months’ expiry at the time of order dispatch.

Panbio COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test: is a single-use, in vitro (outside the body) visually read rapid immunoassay that uses a human nasal swab specimen for the qualitative detection of nucleocapsid protein SARS-CoV-2 antigen.

The test can determine if you have an active COVID-19 infection and you will know your test results in just 15 minutes. This ICMR-approved COVID test kit is priced at Rs 249 on Amazon.

CoviFind rapid antigen test kit: The test kit can determine infection within 15 minutes and it is suitable for anyone aged two and above.

The kit comes with one pre-filled buffer tube, one sterile nasal swab, one test device, one disposal bag and one instruction manual. This kit is being sold at Rs 242 on Amazon.

Ultra Covi-Catch rapid antigen test: This kit has been priced at Rs 275 at Flipkart. Ultra Covi-Catch SD Biosensor was the first company to launch the COVID rapid antigen test kit in India, according to the company’s statement.

Covi-Catch, the ICMR-approved test kit, allows us to test for the COVID-19 antigen within 15 minutes.

Interpretation of the Test Result: Positive Result If both the control line (C) and the test line (T) is visible, the result is positive.

Negative Result : If only control line (C) and no test line (T) is visible, the result is negative.

Angcard COVID-19 Antigen Test Kit is available on Flipkart at Rs 1,350. It has 25 nasal swab testing devices for the detection of COVID infection.

According to the guidelines, reading results in 15 mins or earlier after insertion of strip into a tube containing sample and dilution buffer. The strip should be discarded after 15 minutes.

Any preparations to do before the test?

To use any COVID home testing kits, it is important to find a clean place and sanitize your hands before conducting the test.

It is important to download the app mentioned in the testing kit, fill in the credentials and then proceed with the test.

How valid are the test results:

According to the ICMR, individuals who test positive using the home testing kit may be considered as true positives, and no-repeat testing is required.

All symptomatic individuals who test negative must get tested by RT-PCR, as RATs are likely to miss few positive cases.

ICMR guidelines on COVID self-testing kits:

  • All users are advised to click a picture of the test strip after completing the test procedure with the same mobile phone which has been used for downloading the mobile app and user registration.
  • Data in the app of your mobile phone will be centrally captured in a secure server which is connected with the ICMR COVID-19 testing portal, where all data will be eventually stored
  • All individuals who test positive may be considered as true positives and no repeat testing is required.
  • All test positive individuals are advised to follow home isolation and care as per the ICMR and Union health ministry protocol which can be accessed at www.icmr.gov.in
  • All symptomatic individuals who test negative by RAT should get themselves immediately tested by RTPCR.
  • This is especially important as the RATs are likely to miss a few positive cases presenting with a low viral load.
  • Home testing should be conducted as per the procedure described by the manufacturer in the user manual (pictorial and video link of the user manual is provided below against the name of the approved test kit).
  • All RAT negative symptomatic individuals may be treated as suspect COVID-19 cases and are advised to follow the ICMR/MoH&FW home isolation protocol while awaiting the RT PCR test result.
  • Manufacturer’s instructions must be strictly followed for disposal of the test kit, swab and other materials.

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