May 20, 2021

Explained: What is Mylab Coviself, the self-testing Covid-19 kit

Explained: What is Mylab Coviself, the self-testing Covid-19 kit

Covid-19 home test kits: Mylab Coviself kit will reduce burden on existing laboratories, reduce stress on manpower required for home testing, and provide quick results.


The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved the country’s first self-testing kit for home use for suspected Covid-19 patients. This kit will reduce burden on existing laboratories, reduce stress on manpower required for home testing, and provide quick results.

Its efficacy, however, is not 100 per cent and has chances of false negatives even if a person has Covid-19.

Mylab Covid-19 home test kits

Mylab, a Pune-based pharma company, has designed this kit. The principle it follows is of rapid antigen test, where a nasal swab sample is tested for the virus and gives results within 15 minutes. “For India, we will make millions of kits available at fraction of the cost of such kits in the US,” said Dr Hasmukh Rawal, managing director in Mylab. The kit will cost Rs 250. Mylab’s current production capacity is 70 lakh kits per week, it plans to scale upto one crore kits per week in the next fortnight.

“Most western countries have allowed self-test for their citizens and consider it as a powerful tool to break the chain. This easy-to-use test combines with Myab’s AI-powered mobile app so that a user can know his/her positive status, submit the result to ICMR directly for traceability, and know what to do next in either case of result. We are sure this small step will be a big leap in mitigating the second and subsequent waves,” said Sujit Jain, Director at Mylab Discovery Solutions.

Who can use the Covid home test kit?

ICMR has advised this test for only those who have symptoms or are high risk contacts of positive patients and need to conduct a test at home. If positive, the person will be considered Covid-19 positive and will not require RT-PCR as a confirmatory test. This test is synced with a mobile app which will help directly feed data on ICMR portal for contact tracing. This test is not advised for general screening in public places of hawkers, show owners, or commuters.

If a person has symptoms and tests negative on this kit, he has to undergo RT-PCR test.

While this test cost Rs 250, RT-PCR cost between Rs 500 to 1500 and a rapid antigen test in laboratory cost Rs 300-900 in different states.

Process of using Covid-19 home test kit

The kit comes with a pre-filled extraction tube, sterile nasal swab, a testing card and a bio hazard bag. The person taking the test has to first download and feed all details on a mobile app of Coviself. The person has to sanitise his hands, clean the surface on which he will place kit. He has to insert the swab into his nose 2-4 cms inside or until it touches the back of nasal tract. The swab is then swirled inside the extraction tube to mix with the liquid inside, the tube is tightly closed, and two drop from extraction tube’s outlet are spilled onto the testing card. The result comes within 15 minutes. A person is positive for Covid-19 if two lines appear on testing card on marker ’t’ for testing line and ‘c’ for quality control line, negative if a single line appears on marker ‘c’.

The tube and swab have to be sealed in bio hazard bag and disposed as biomedical waste.

When is the test considered invalid?

If it takes more than 20 minutes to show results or if a line does not flash across marker ‘c’ then the test is invalid.

Drawbacks of Covid-19 home test kit

If a Covid-19 infected person is asymptomatic and tests negative, this test may give a false sense of security. While rapid antigen test serves as a quick mass surveillance tool, over dependence on it for testing is not advisable. It should only supplement, not form bulk of testing. The test has high chances of false negatives. RT-PCR is considered the gold standard for Covid-19 testing. If a symptomatic person tests negative for Covid-19 through rapid antigen, a RT-PCR is highly recommended.

Also if the sample is not collected properly or swab is contaminated, the test is a futile exercise. Nasal swab collection requires proper insertion and extraction, a technique that requires basic training that common men do not have.

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