The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved two home-based Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kits, to be used only on symptomatic individuals and immediate contacts of laboratory confirmed positive cases. The ICMR has approved CoviSelf, manufactured by Mylab Discovery Solutions Ltd, Pune, and the PanBio COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Device, developed by Chicago-based Abbott Rapid Diagnostics. The latter's provisional approval has been accorded till July 5, 2021.
"Indiscriminate testing is not advised. Home testing 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," the ICMR said. All positive individuals are advised to follow home isolation and care as per the ICMR and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW) protocols.
The symptomatic individuals who test negative by RAT should get themselves immediately tested by RTPCR. This is especially important 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/MoH&FW home isolation protocol while awaiting the RTPCR test result, it said. All results may be interpreted as per the protocols laid down by the manufacturer in the user manual. Manufacturer's instructions must be strictly followed for disposal of the test kit, swab and other materials.
India has been using various open and closed RT-PCR platforms (Open systems RT-PCR machines, TrueNat and CBNAAT) for COVID19 diagnosis in the country. According to an advisory issued by the by the ICMR in May this year, the total daily National testing capacity is close to 15 lakh tests, considering a three-shift operationalisation of the existing laboratory network.
(With inputs from IANS)