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Self Testing Kits demand soars In India: Which one to buy and how to use it?

Self Testing Kits demand: Why are people preferring Self Testing Kits Over RT PCR?


 Highlights 

  • Omicron cases are rising 
  • Self Testing Kits Demand Soars in India 
  • How to use Self Testing Kits and which one to buy? 

The Omicron variant has triggered a third wave in India and Covid cases are soaring again. With more than 1 Lac cases reported everyday, experts have warned that the next three weeks are extremely crucial for India. According to reports, the peak will hit India between February  2 – February  5. As the cases are increasing , the demand for self testing kits have seen a sharp increase.  Experts revealed a lot of people are preferring self testing kits over RT PCR. In this article, we have covered which one to buy and how to use it?  As Self Testing Kits demand soars, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Hasmukh Rawal, Managing director of my lab discovery solutions, stated the demand for self testing kits  spiked in December itself when omicron cases began surfacing. The high demand was reported from Maharashtra, Bengal, Delhi, under Pradesh and Rajasthan. Majorly reported from Kolkata and other metropolitan cities.

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Why are people preferring Self Testing Kits over RT PCR  Tests? 

Self test kits come handy as the  result  usually comes in just 20 minutes unlike Rt Pcr which  normally takes 15 to 24 hours. It also benefits in omitting any type of external exposure that can be causing infection either way.  Also, Self Testing Kits are easily available at the chemist.

But are the results accurate? 

Well, there are many benefits of self -testing kits but the accuracy of the results remain the major concern. The test may not be as precise and correct as compared to Rt Pcr testing, Reducing overall testing expenditure and the stress of booking appointments in Laboratories, the reliability of results remains a major concern, the sample not being collected completely or the swab stick getting  contaminated is very high. Also, rapid antigen tests come with a high chance of false negatives. If a covered infected person is asymptomatic and tests negative the test may give a false sense of security and lead to the infected person infecting a huge amount of people.

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Pune district association of chemists also confirmed about both sales and an inquiry on self testing kits has been going up. 30,000 samples were tested in Pune  district which is the highest in seven months, there are now more than 15,000 active cases in the district whereas the total toll of cases in Maharashtra has gone up to almost 42,000 cases. The positivity rate which had fallen below 5% weeks ago has now again climbed up to 25%.

What is Coviself? 

CoviSelf, India’s first COVID-19 test kit for self use has been provided to us  by biotechnology company my lab Discovery solutions. After getting approval from Indian council of medical research (ICMR)  in the month of May, The coronavirus self test kit was launched on 3rd June by my lab discovery solutions. The aim that was kept in mind was to cover the length and breadth of the country, especially for the people residing in rural areas where testing is very limited. It is India’s first test kit for self use that can give results in just 20 minutes at the price of rupees 250, along with being available at chemists and any pharmaceutical the kit is also available at Amazon,1MG, Flipkart and other online shopping platforms. As during the second wave of COVID-19 oximeters were in high demand now we can see a high demand of self testing kits, it offers easy to use an accurate alternative to the current test method. It can be used by individuals with or without symptoms and immediate results to confirm cases as per the ICMR guidelines provided during the 2nd wave.

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How to use it? 

 

The kit comes with an instruction pamphlet, nasal swab, a pre-filled extraction tube, a test card and a biohazard bag. Unlike the nasopharyngeal swab used in RT PCR testing that has to be inserted deep into the cavity,  a nasal swab reduces the discomfort as it has to be inserted only 2-4 centimeters into each nasal cavity , the user has to install the app my lab CoviSelf to fill in credentials and then proceed with the test by inserting the swab into both nasal cavities to collect the sample.  After that,  conduct the tests according to the instructions manual provided in the kit where the results will be provided in just 20 minutes, a positive result is indicated by Align formed in the T test line as well as negative result by align formed in the C control line. The government promoted and allowed home testing to reduce burdens on laboratories which can lead to severe delays in Covid-19 testing during the peak season.

Conclusion 

ICMR Guidelines for approving a home test kit, according to an official notification dated June 18 , 2020 the ICMR approved home testing kids if they have been validated in India. Manufacturers who intend to sell these kits should ensure that the kits should comprise  of required materials for sample collection and disposal. Well, you can use a Self Testing Kit during an emergency and to stay safe. But we would suggest you to always get it in touch with a doctor for accurate results.

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Vamika Garg

A history hons graduate who likes to find the history behind every news and give her audience a piece of unbiased journalism.
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