At-home COVID-19 testing kits to be available in 3-4 days: ICMR

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New Delhi: At-home COVID-19 tests should be available in the market in the next three to four days, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said on Thursday.

While speaking at a press briefing in Delhi, Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General of the ICMR informed that results for home COVID testing will be processed and delivered through a mobile application.

“Step 1 is that you buy the test kit from a chemist, Step 2 – download the mobile app. Step 3- conduct the test at home. Step 4 – click a mobile image and upload. The test result will be given,” Bhargava explained.

He added, “This ensures patient confidentiality, data is stored in a secure server and it is linked with the ICMR database. This should be available in the market within three to four days. One company has approval for home testing kits, three more are in the pipeline.”

Earlier on Thursday, Pune’s Mylab Discovery Solutions launched India’s first-ever self-testing kit for COVID-19, which has received the approval of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

The ICMR DG further said that over 20 lakh tests were conducted on May 18 and 19 across the country, the highest ever figures. Despite this, the positivity rate has dropped to about 13 per cent.

“In the middle of February till early March, we were doing about 8 lakh tests per day and have increased that to 20 lakh. Yet our positivity percentage has fallen to 13 per cent from 28 per cent. We have to bring it down to 5 per cent,” he said.

He added that they aim to do 25 lakh tests per day by the end of this month and 45 lakh tests by the end of June

“More Rapid Antigen Tests should be done because you can get results rapidly and then isolate the patient quickly,” he added.

Bhargava further said that the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s 2-DG drug is not a new medicine and has been repurposed.

“The DRDO’s 2-DG drug is a repurposed medicine, not a new medicine. It was earlier used for cancer treatment. Its trial results have been given to DCGI,” the said.

Speaking about the state-wise status of COVID in the country, Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary of the Union Health Ministry informed that eight states in the country have more than 1 lakh active cases, nine states have between 50,000-1 lakh active cases and 19 states have less than 50,000 active cases.

India reported 2,76,070 new COVID-19 cases and 3,874 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s data on Thursday. As many as 3,69,077 discharges have been made in the last 24 hours, which is more than the daily cases reported.

The cumulative caseload stands at 2,57,72,400, including 2,23,55,440 recoveries, 31,29,878 active cases and 2,87,122 deaths.