India’s top health research body, Indian Council of Medical Research, ICMR, has approved a Rapid Antigen Test, RAT, kit for Indians to conduct the COVID-19 test at home, officials said on Thursday.
The research body has granted the approval for the self-testing COVISelf kit, also known as COVISelfTM (PathoCatch) COVID-19 OTC Antigen LF device, manufactured by the Pune-based Mylab Discovery Solutions Company.
It issued detailed guidelines on how and who can use RATs on Wednesday.
The home test kits were expected to take some of the pressure off laboratories, officials said.
“Home testing by RAT is advised only in symptomatic individuals and immediate contacts of laboratory-confirmed positive cases. Indiscriminate testing is not advised.
“All symptomatic individuals who test negative by RAT should get themselves immediately tested by RT-PCR. This is especially important as the RATs are likely to miss few positive cases presenting with a low viral load,” the ICMR said.
The research body said all RAT negative symptomatic individuals may be treated as suspect COVID-19 cases and advised them to follow the home isolation protocol while awaiting the RT-PCR test result.
According to the ICMR, the home test using RATs should be conducted according to the procedure detailed in an app, which can be downloaded from the 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 mobile phone would be centrally captured in a secure server which was connected with the ICMR COVID-19 testing portal, where all data would be eventually stored.
The top medical body also assured that patient confidentiality would be fully maintained.