Positive or negative: Self-test kits causing Covid confusion?

Media: Hindustan Times Online

Date: 23rd January 2022

Headline: Positive or negative: Self-test kits causing Covid confusion? 

Weblink: https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/positive-or-negative-self-test-kits-causing-covid-confusion-101642883986188.html

Dr Shivali Ahlawat
Head of National Reference Laboratory at Oncquest Laboratories Ltd.

COVID Self Testing Kit V/s RT PCR Kit

Q2. What’s the difference between a COVID Self Testing Kit and RT PCR Kit:

Rapid self-Kit test detects protein fragments specific to the Coronavirus. Turnaround time for results is usually speedy, and in most cases, results can be reported within 15 minutes. Rapid Antigen tests are considered the most accurate in a patient who is having symptoms of COVID-19. While the rapid test can get you results very quickly, the results may not always be as accurate as the PCR.

RT PCR testing is considered the most robust approach in SARS-CoV-2 detection. This test detects RNA (or genetic material) specific to the virus and can detect the virus within days of infection, even those with no symptoms. The test is generally done by a trained professional. Turnaround time is longer as compared to rapid test but results can come back in as little as 24 hours.

Q.3 Which COVID-19 test is most accurate and why?

A PCR test, also called a molecular test or polymerase chain reaction test, detects genetic material specific to the virus that causes COVID-19. PCR testing is considered the “gold standard” in COVID-19 detection and is often more accurate than a rapid test, especially in individuals without symptoms.

Home tests had good accuracy in case of a positive result, but could be misleading in case of a negative result. If a person has COVID-like symptoms, she or he should get an RT-PCR test even if the home test came negative. 

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Q.4 Do you have cases coming in where people are getting RTPCR done after a self-home Test?

      Generally, this information is not being revealed by patients so its not being captured in patient

      requisition Form.  However, as per ICMR Guidelines (Version VII, dated 10th January 2022). A

     positive point-of-care test [Home or Self-test) and Molecular Test is to be considered confirmatory, 

     without any repeat testing. And for Symptomatic individuals, testing negative on Home/Self-test  

     should undertake RTPCR test as detailed in the algorithm.