The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) approved the home-testing Rapid Antigen Test kits for COVID-19 on Wednesday. In a media briefing on COVID-19, the Director General of ICMR, Dr. Balram Bhargava explained the steps to be followed for using the home-testing kits.
Steps as narrated by Dr. Balram Bhargava :-
Step 1 : You buy the test kit.
Step 2 : You download the mobile application to register yourself and read the user manual.
Step 3 : You conduct the test yourself
Step 4 : You click the image and upload on your mobile phone, which will in turn give the test results.
Ensuring cyber safety of the users, Dr. Bhargava said, "This ensures patient's confidentiality and datas are stored in a secured server, which is linked with ICMR database." He added that the testing kits will be available in the market within 3-4 days and home testing will be made accessible to the people.
ICMR released an advisory to be abided by for home testing on Wednesday. The advisory clearly states that indiscriminate testing should not be entertained and those only with symptoms or history of close contact with a laboratory confirmed COVID-19 patient should undergo home testing.
It has been advised that the home testing should be carried out according to the procedures, described by the manufacturer on the user manual. The home testing mobile application, which is available both on Google Play Store and Apple Store, must be downloaded by the user, as it provides a comprehensive guide of the testing procedure. Besides, every user has been advised to upload a picture of the test strip, after testing, with the same mobile phone, that has been used for registration. This will in turn provide the test results to the user.
The advisory futher asserts that all individuals, who have been tested positive should be considered as true positives and should refrain from repeat testings. All individuals, found positive by the test results, should undergo home isolation and care as per the protocols, issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and ICMR. Those tested negative by RAT, should undergo RT-PCR tests as it has been observed that RAT sometimes miss few COVID-19 positive cases because of low viral load. The RAT negative symptomatic patients have been advised to undergo home isolation and care according to the ICMR and MoHFW protocols, until RT-PCR test results arrive and shall continue if tested positive on RT-PCR.
For disposal of the testing kit, swab and other related materials, manufacturer's instructions should be strictly followed.