New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Indian Council of Medical Association on Wednesday approved the home-based rapid antigen test (RAT) kit for COVID-19 and issued detailed guidelines on how and who should use the test kits at home. The ICMR said that the home-based RAT kits should be used only by symptomatic patients and immediate contacts of laboratory-confirmed positive coronavirus cases. It also said that indiscriminate testing at home must be avoided by the people.

The ICMR validated and approved the CoviSelfTM (PathoCatch) COVID-19 OTC Antigen LF device which is manufactured by Mylab Discovery Solutions Ltd, Pune and said that only nasal swab will be required for this rapid antigen testing and the process should be conducted as per the procedure described by the manufacturer in the user manual.

"Home testing by RAT is advised only in symptomatic individuals and immediate contacts of laboratory-confirmed positive cases. Indiscriminate testing is not advised. 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)," reads the ICMR advisory.

The ICMR also said that all individuals who test positive through the RAT kit may be considered as true positives and no-repeat testing is required while those individuals who test negative by RAT should get themselves immediately tested by RTPCR as the RATs are likely to miss few positive cases presenting with a low viral load.

"All RAT negative symptomatic individuals may be treated as suspect COVID-19 cases and are advised to follow the ICMR/Ministry of Health home isolation protocol while awaiting the RT-PCR test result," the advisory stated.

The apex medical body ICMR suggests users to download the home testing mobile app on their smartphones and said the 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 which has been used for downloading the mobile app and user registration.

"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," ICMR said.

"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. Patient confidentiality will be fully maintained," it added.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan