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What is Mylab Coviself?

Topics Covered: Development of new technology.

What is Mylab Coviself?


Context:

It is India’s first Covid-19 self-testing kit approved recently by the ICMR.

  • This means anyone can collect their own nasal sample and test it for SARS-CoV-2.

Such a self-test kit was first approved in the US last November. Similar kits have been approved in Europe and South Korea too.

About CoviSelf:

  • Developed by MyLab Discovery Solutions, a Pune-based molecular company.
  • It uses a rapid antigen test, in which a nasal swab sample is tested for the virus and gives results within 15 minutes.
  • Taking the test takes hardly two minutes.

How does it work?

This easy-to-use test combines with MyLab’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 result.

What are the arguments for?

  1. A person testing himself at home rather than visiting a hospital or lab, or calling a technician at home, reduces the risk of transmission to others.
  2. Swab collection in this case is fairly simple and quick, and reduces overall testing expenditure and the stress of booking appointment in labs.
  3. Self-testing will reduce the burden on laboratories that are currently working 24 hours up to full capacity with manpower that is already saturated.

Arguments against:

  1. The reliability of results remains a major concern. The likelihood of the sample not being collected correctly, or the swab stick getting contaminated, is high.
  2. Also, rapid antigen tests come with a high chance of false negatives. If a Covid-infected person is asymptomatic and tests negative, the test may give a false sense of security.
  3. Technical errors in the mobile app can also hamper the entire testing and reporting process.

Can the launch be a game-changer in Covid-19 management?

Many states are going through a second wave of infections, putting pressure on diagnostics laboratories. The RT-PCR test, considered the gold standard for Covid-19 testing, takes 3-4 days to give results, delaying hospitalisation and treatment.

  • Self-test kits can potentially be a game-changer in Covid-19 management in India. These can cut queues in laboratories, reduce costs, dissipate the burden on existing manpower for sample collection from homes, and provide quick results (within 15 minutes), leading to prompt treatment and isolation.
  • This testing kit cost Rs 250, while RT-PCR test costs between Rs 400 to Rs 1,500 and a rapid antigen test in laboratory costs Rs 300-900 in different states.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Coviself?
  2. How it works?
  3. Differences between antigens and antibodies.

Mains Link:

Discuss the pros and cons of self-help kits for the detection of Covid.

Sources: Indian Express.