On Thursday, Mylab Discovery Solution reported that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had approved CoviSelf, the country's first self-use rapid antigen test for Covid-19.
When will CoviSelf kits be available in the market and where can you buy them?
According to Sujjet Jain, director of Pune's MyLab Discovery Solutions, CoviSelf, the first self-testing home kit for Covid testing, will be available in the market by the end of next week.
The manufacturer aims at reaching 90 percent of the pin codes in India, without a prescription, from local pharmacies and the kit will also be made available through online channel partners. However, the exact details on what online portals will it be made available on are still not shared.
"The company will start shipping out tests within a few days. Mylab's current production capacity is 7 million tests per week and plans to increase its capacity to 10 million tests per week within 14 days," says the company.
How will the self-use rapid antigen test work?
The test kit costs INR250, including taxes, and includes a comprehensive manual on how to perform the test at home without the assistance of a medical professional. It will only take a nasal swab since it is a Rapid Antigen Test.
The package includes a pre-filled extraction tube, a nasal card, a test swab, and a biohazard bag, according to the MyLab manual's instructions. Personal information will need to be entered into the CoviSelf app at first, and a QR code on the test device will need to be scanned to link your credentials.
To ensure that an appropriate sample is obtained, the sterile swab kit should be inserted into both nostrils (2-4 cms before resistance is met) and rolled about five times.
The swab is then dipped into the pre-filled extraction tube, and two complete drops of the mixture are placed in the test device's sample well.
Results for self-use rapid antigen test
Although the test will take two minutes to complete, the results will be available in 15 minutes.
A positive outcome, on the other hand, could arrive earlier. According to the manufacturer's video manual, any result obtained after 20 minutes is considered invalid. Any symptomatic individual who receives a negative test should get an RT-PCR test done. RATs might miss a few positive cases due to low viral load.
The testing can be tracked using Mylab's cell phone app, which instructs users to take a photo of the test strip after they've completed the process. It is mandatory to download this app.
Mylab director Sujit Jain said, "This easy-to-use test combines with Myab's AI-powered mobile app so that a user can know his/her positive status, submit the result to ICMR directly for traceability, and know what to do next in either case of result."
Who should take the self-use rapid antigen test?
Although the ICMR has already stated that people who exhibit Covid symptoms should be considered Covid suspects and treated without waiting for results, this home testing kit will aid in early detection.
In order to prevent indiscriminate usage, the ICMR has stated that this test should not be taken by all. This home testing is only recommended for those who have symptoms or have come into contact with positive cases.
According to ICMR advisory "Home testing by RAT is advised only in symptomatic individuals and immediate contacts of laboratory-confirmed positive cases. Indiscriminate testing is not advised,"
How will this rapid antigen test help?
Self-testing is not a new concept; many countries have already approved such kits to be used at home for early detection. Since India has been fighting the pandemic's second wave since March-April, testing labs have been overburdened, resulting in longer wait times for results.
This, according to Mylab, would relieve pressure on already overburdened research laboratories and reduce testing delays, which can be as long as 72 hours in some areas of the world.
Rapid antigen testing can also ensure early detection of cases and help isolate or provide treatment to an individual.