Fighting against Covid-19, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved the country’s first self-testing kit Coviself. The kit can be used at home for testing purposes. While these kits are scarcely available, the first sets of these antigen home testing kits are soon to be available at the pharmacy stores in Visakhapatnam. Those finding themselves symptomatic can buy the kit, and self-test at home.
Sources in the pharmacy sector inform that there are only a few pharmacies are getting the kits to sell. But they are yet to be available in a full-fledged manner. “We have been informed about the Coviself kits and the sale at the pharmacy is to start in a few days. We heard very few medical stores have got samples from their known sources. People can buy without any prescription. However, we are yet to be informed on how many home testing kits each person can purchase, so as to avoid misusage”, said a Pharmacist in Visakhapatnam.
The home Antigen kits act as a sigh of relief against those times when a symptomatic person had to go out for testing at the labs or wait for an appointment for a home-based testing laboratory in Visakhapatnam. With a lack of sufficient staff availability, even the private labs had to stop testing for more people. In fact, the spike in Covid-19 cases made people opt only for home testing facilities where they had to pay double the testing cost, just to avoid going directly to the lab.
As per ICMR guidelines, it is advisable to use these kits at home only for those people who have symptoms or they were in contact with positive patients in some situations. Mylab, a Pune-based pharma company developed the rapid antigen test kits, where a nasal swab sample is tested for the virus and gives results within 15 minutes. The kit comes with a pre-filled extraction tube, sterile nasal swab, a testing card and a biohazard bag. The kit is to cost Rs 250. After testing, if the result is positive, the person will be considered Covid-19 positive but if the test is negative and still has symptoms, the person will have to go for an RT-PCR test. With a mobile app Coviself, a person has to first fill in all the details and later upload the test result in the app. The data will be updated in the ICMR portal.
How to use it?
A person using the kit has to insert the swab into his nose 2-4 cms inside or until it touches the back of the nasal tract. The swab should be then swirled, then mix in the pre-filled extraction tube before pouring the sample. Spill two drops from the extraction tube onto the testing card. The result comes within 15 minutes. If the person is positive for Covid-19, two lines appear on the testing card on marker ‘t’ for the testing line and ‘c’ for the quality control line. If negative, a single line appears on marker ‘c’.