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India’s first self-use Covid test kit to be available at 700,000 pharmacies

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MyLab Discovery Solutions, the Pune-based company that has developed India’s first self-use Rapid Antigen Test Kit for Covid-19 called CoviSelf, said the test will be available for use next week in more than 700,000 pharmacies across India.

The product will also be distributed through the company’s online pharmacy partners. Sujeet Jain, director of MyLab Discovery Solutions said the company is targeting to reach 90% pin code regions in India.

“This test is for self-use. If you test positive via this there’s no need for an RT PCR test as per ICMR. Any adult can use this kit by reading our manual,” Jain added.

Last year, MyLab’s indigenous RT PCR test was the first to win approval from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for Covid testing in the country.

Rapid Antigen Tests or RAT are considered less accurate than RT PCR tests. Experts suggest that RAT should only be used to test symptomatic patients to ensure correct results. RAT tests are less expensive and results can be obtained in just 15-30 minutes. Their use is considered vital for reducing the burden on testing labs that evaluate RT PCR samples.

MyLab’s self-use RAT kit will cost Rs 250 and will be available for purchase at all major pharmacies without a prescription.

Earlier this week, the Centre, in its standard operating procedure (SOP) for Covid treatment in rural areas, stressed the need to ramp up rapid testing in rural districts. The Union Health Ministry said RAT kits should be made available at all public health facilities including sub-centres or health and wellness centres and primary health centres.

Besides the focus on rapid testing, the Centre also talked about the need for providing all suspected Covid patients in rural areas with a self-isolation kit with essential medicines and devices such as pulse-oximeter.

On Thursday morning, the health ministry said India had recorded 276,110 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours and 3,874 deaths due to the virus.

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