It is no secret that in the wake of coronavirus, you have witnessed a dramatic loss of lives, devastating scenes, and news spanning all across the media. You have witnessed a world shrunk from its joys and pleasures of life to a place so cold and numb.
Today, when gasps are outnumbering breaths, when pleas and cries for help are outnumbering hugs and greetings, the health industry spearheads a daunting task, pulling all-nighters to save yet another life. With the second wave of Covid-19 affecting the nook and crannies of India, the diagnostic centers and several medical equipment suppliers have been under strenuous pressure to meet the testing target.
Yet, amidst the gloomy rush, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) set out a ray of hope. Akin to the test kits employed in developed countries like the USA and UK, India approves its very own home-based rapid antigen testing (RAT) kit as well.
Manufactured by Mylab Discovery Solutions based in Pune, this rapid-antigen test kit (RAT) has been aptly named as CoviSelf. The significance lies in the fact that CoviSelf is the country’s first self-use or home-based testing kit that would render results in just 15 minutes.
In just a week, you would be able to bring home the kit for a meager amount of Rs 250. Rapid antigen tests are naturally deemed less sensitive and precise than the RT-PCR tests performed in the lab. It simply means that if you’re suffering from a mild infection, then RAT might display a false negative. However, in cases of high viral load, the results are considered accurate, so much so that there is no need for them to acquire a lab-test result again.
The ICMR has clearly mentioned that CoviSelf should be used by individuals who show evident symptoms of Covid-19 or have been in contact with Covid-positive patients. The advisory has also stated, “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.” Of course, while holed up in home-quarantine, if any emergency arises, you can always opt for an online doctor consultation to be safe from any further risks.
CoviSelf is designed as an imperative solution to curb the pressure on diagnostic labs, handle an extraordinary caseload, and provide respite to the increasing staff members getting tested positive for Covid-19. It comes with a pre-filled extraction tube, a sterile nose swab, one test card, and a biohazard bag for safe disposal. In order to know how to use it, follow the instructions below-
The process to read your RAT result is relatively simple. First, closely observe the test card; it's divided into 2 different segments, control, and test. After adding the liquid drops in it, If the bar occurs only in the control portion (C), the finding is negative. On the other hand, if the bar clearly appears across both the parts, the control section and the test section (T), the virus has been identified, and you've been tested positive.
Once you have been tested, you must post a snapshot of the test strip with the same cell device used to access the mobile app and register as a user. The interface will collect test results and integrate them into the ICMR COVID-19 testing platform, where all the data will subsequently be collected. This method seems like a paradigm shift for the Indian healthcare industry; with the easy availability of the testing kit, cases can now be detected earlier to commence the treatment and limit the spread.
Within a week, when people start testing themselves at home with CoviSelf, there is a possibility that the problem of insufficient testing and shoddy data collection by the authority in rural areas could now be handled effectively. For other non-Covid related ailments, 24-hour pharmacies are always at your service, and as we stand in unity to fight the pandemic together, we hope to see conditions take a positive turn soon.