‘States Should Check ICMR Portal, Track Those Testing +Ve Via Home Kits’

PUNE : All states should check the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) portal to tra-ck and treat people testing positive via home Covid test kits, officials from the research body said. They were responding to concerns that states were missing out on cases testing positive via home test kits.

MyLab’s Coviself—a home-based rapid antigen kit—hit pharmacies last week. The rapid test kit requires a nasal swab sample to provide test results within 15 minutes. State health officials said the data from the rapid kits is key as the five-level unlock process relies on testing information and positivity rates.

ICMR officials said the home-based test kits are linked to the ICMR portal via software and states can access patient data—including home address—from the website. “All states have user credentials to access the ICMR test portal. They have to access the portal to update their data. The data can be found under home-based test kits. Officials can check for data from their respective states and local authorities can then contact the person who has tested positive,” a senior ICMR official said.

After Coviself, two more home testing kits—PanBio and Covifind—are expected to hit the market soon. “All these home test kits will be linked to the ICMR portal, which will have data of positive patients and number of tests,” the ICMR official added.

State health officials have raised concerns about tracking those testing positive via home kits bought over the counter. “All purchases of home kits should be strictly monitored. There should also be a mechanism that ensures local authorities, and not a centralised portal, are first alerted about a positive case,” a state official said.

Representatives from Mylab, which makes Coviself, said local authorities in Pune have been able to reach out to people testing positive. “The system is in place and will be fortified further,” a Mylab official said.

According to company officials about 30 lakh Coviself kits have been distributed to pharmacies and drug stores nationwide. The volume will be scaled up, they said. “We are ready with a capacity of 1 crore per week. We will react to market demand,” said a Mylab official. The firm’s MD, Hasmukh Rawal, said they plan to improve reach in rural areas.

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