Demand of self-testing kits soars as Covid cases spike

Health officials concerned as positive cases may go unreported

Demand of self-testing kits soars as Covid cases spike

Priced between Rs200 and Rs300, self-testing kits have become quite popular among people amid the Covid crisis. Tribune photo

Tribune News Service

Manav Mander

Ludhiana, January 15

Surge in Covid-19 cases has led to an increase in the demand for self-testing antigen kits. Designed as the mid-nasal swab test, the kit can give out the result in just 15 mins.

Priced between Rs 200-300, these kits have become quite popular among people. However, health officials have expressed concern over self-testing as many positive cases go unreported if patients do not inform the Health Department about their status.

It is an alarming trend as it will defeat the real purpose of surveillance since we will be unable to track, isolate and treat the infected people. Such kits are posing threat both in terms of capturing actual data and curtailing the spread of virus. Dr SP Singh, Civil Surgeon, Ludhiana

Although the users are required to upload their test report on the app by using a code but not many are coming forward to upload the same.

“The self-test kits can detect major variants of Covid-19, including Omicron. The company has scaled up production and started making test available across the country. We saw 4.5 times (450%) rise in the demand of self-testing kit in the past 11 weeks. We have the production capacity of 2.4 million units and are well-prepared to scale it up if the situation demands. We expect a further increase in the coming months, said Hasmukh Rawal, MD & Co-founder, Mylab Discovery Solutions.

The main aim of these kits is to quickly detect and isolate infected patients. However, the sad part is that people are using these to go undetected from surveillance. Asymptomatic patients are taking medicines but not getting quarantined and end up infecting others as carriers.

A local chemist said that during the first wave, it were sanitisers and gloves and oximeters that people bought in large numbers and during the second wave, people bought oxygen concentrators to rule out oxygen shortage and now at the starting of the third wave, Covid self testing kits are the hottest selling products.

Ashika Jain, who was travelling to Bengaluru, got herself tested with a self detection kit. “I was getting anxious before my travel so I got myself tested to ease my fears and I tested negative. In case I would have tested positive, I don’t know whom I should have contacted to share my report,” she said.

“The rampant sale of self-test kits amidst rising Covid cases is an alarm as it will defeat the real purpose of surveillance since we will be unable to track, isolate and treat the infected people. Such kits are posing threat, both in terms of capturing actual data and curtailing the spread of virus. One should always get a RT-PCR test done,” said Ludhiana Civil Surgeon Dr SP Singh.

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