The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recently approved COVID-19 home testing using Rapid Antigen Tests in light of the second wave of COVID-19, which has put tremendous strain on diagnostic route labs (RATs). According to the ICMR guidelines, symptomatic patients and immediate contacts of confirmed cases can utilise the self-use test. This test does not require the collection of a sample by a healthcare practitioner. This will relieve strain on overcrowded labs and shorten testing delays. However, these tests should be carried out with caution and in accordance with the COVID-19 guidelines.
Individuals who test positive with a home testing kit may be regarded true positives, according to the ICMR, and no further testing is required. Because RATs are likely to miss a few positive cases, all symptomatic patients who test negative must be examined by RT-PCR.
Md Shakeel Ahmed, Head of Emergency Medicine at Fortis Hiranandani Hospital in Vashi, answers the following frequently asked questions concerning home testing kits for IANSlife:
Each kit provides all testing materials, instructions to use (IFU) leaflet and a biohazard bag to be safely disposed of after testing. The test is designed to be done using a nasal swab (not the deep nasopharyngeal swab) to reduce the discomfort. The kit is supposed to provide results in 15 minutes and people who test positive should immediately isolate themselves so that they do not infect others, and quickly contact the local municipal bodies and their healthcare provider. Those who test negative and continue to experience COVID-like symptoms should seek follow-up care from their healthcare provider and conduct an RT-PCR test.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF THE RESULTS ARE SUCCESSFUL?
The kit includes a control line and a test line for determining the outcome. The presence of new coronavirus antigen is validated if both Control Line C and Test Line T appear in the cartridge, and the result is positive. It could take up to 15 minutes for the results to show.
WHEN THE RESULT IS NEGATIVE, HOW DO YOU KNOW?
If just the quality Control Line C appears but not the Test Line T, the result is negative because no novel coronavirus antigen has been found.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF THE RESULT IS WRONG?
If the quality control line C is not observed, the findings will be worthless regardless of whether a test line T is present. In this situation, the test should be repeated.
WHAT DO POSITIVE OUTCOMES MEAN?
The presence of viral antigens is indicated by positive results. People who test positive with the COVID-19 Antigen Test at home should isolate themselves and seek further treatment from their physician or healthcare provider.
WHAT ARE THE DISADVANTAGES OF THESE EVALUATIONS?
If you don’t perform it correctly, you may have discomfort while collecting samples. Furthermore, RATs have a proclivity for misinterpreting data.
ARE THERE ANY PREPARATIONS TO DO BEFORE THE TEST?
Firstly, it is important that you find a clean place to do the test.
* Identify a table and sanitise the surface thoroughly
* Wash your hands with soap, and make sure that your hands are dry before you perform the test
* Tear the pouch and lay the contents of the kit on the table
* Before you proceed with the test, please download the app mentioned in the testing kit, fill in the credentials and then proceed with the test. This is important so that no positive case is missed.
Always remember that there are many factors that come into play when it comes to home test kits. These tests work best with people who have symptoms of COVID-19. If you test a little early or say if you are asymptomatic, most likely your test may show negative and that might give you a false sense of reassurance that this negative test means you are not transmissible, when you really could be. So, if you are sick, it is important to seek medical aid from your healthcare provider, and report the findings of the test to the local municipal body.
IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO TO PREPARE FOR THE TEST?
First and foremost, you must choose a clean location to conduct the test.
- Choose a table and thoroughly sanitise it * Wash your hands with soap and dry them before beginning the test * Tear the pouch open and place the contents of the kit on the table * Before beginning the test, please download the app mentioned in the testing kit, fill in the credentials, and then begin the test. This is necessary to ensure that no affirmative cases are overlooked.
When it comes to home test kits, keep in mind that there are a lot of variables to consider. These tests are most effective in those who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms. In the event that y