Rapid Antigen Kits to conduct Covid test at home got a green signal on Wednesday and the Indian Council of Medical Research -- the nodal body in the fight against the virus -- issued detailed guidelines on who can use it and how.
The ICMR has made it clear that only symptomatic individuals and immediate contacts of people who tested positive in the laboratory should use the home test. "Indiscriminate testing is not advised," the top medical body said.
"All individuals who test positive may be considered as true positives and no repeat testing is required... All symptomatic individuals who test negative by RAT should get themselves immediately tested by RTPCR," the ICMR said.
The CoviSelfTM (PathoCatch) COVID-19 OTC Antigen LF device was created by the Pune-based Mylab Discovery Solutions Ltd. The home test should be conducted according to the process detailed in an app, which should be downloaded from the Google play store and Apple store, the ICMR said.
"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 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.
The medical body also assured that patient confidentiality will be fully maintained.
The home test kits are expected to take some of the pressure off laboratories. Over the last 24 hours, 20,08,296 samples have been tested in a new record.
Numbers, however, indicate that testing in the country is not continuing at full capacity. India has a capacity of conducting 33 lakh tests a day, but the daily average is 18 lakh -- up from 10 lakh on April 1. This means 45 per cent of the country's testing capacity is lying unused.
The average daily test figure is up by only 75 per cent from April 1 – a minuscule figure when the rate infection is taken into consideration. From April 1 to the peak last week, the number of people infected has undergone a whopping 531 per cent hike.
The country logged 2.67 lakh new cases on Wednesday, taking the overall count to 2.54 crore and the number of active cases to 1,27,046. The number of deaths in the same period set a grim global record. The figure, 4,529, breached the highest daily deaths registered by the United States in January (4,475).