BENGALURU: The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and the State Government should issue necessary guidelines to encourage reporting of positive tests among people using self-test kits and RAT tests by private labs which are currently not being reported, medical experts in the city have suggested.
Speaking to TNIE, Dr Vishal Rao, Dean, HCG, and also a member of Covid-19 task force, said, “People using self-test kits and use of rapid antigen tests by labs are not being reported and this could potentially lead to delayed medical intervention or even increasing events of spread if people who tested positive are not isolated.”
Experts also fear this could also raise concerns about under-reporting or missing cases of huge numbers, like it could be happening in cities like Delhi and Mumbai. “Getting an RT-PCR test, on the other hand, is a more dependable and safer option with lesser restrictions and can also be used to detect how recent the infection is,” says Dr Vivek Anand Padegal, Director - Pulmonology, Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road.
He explains that there are also risks of false positives by using rapid self-test kits. Interestingly, acidic foods, soft drinks, sweet lime and other similar substances can all result in a false positive. Also, if a person fails to notify the government after testing positive with a home test kit, the isolation norms, contact tracing and other procedures may be disrupted, he explains.
Dr Vivek adds, “As a result, accurate test readings are critical, not for confirming the infection, but also to equip the system to deliver the necessary support including hospitalisation, as many resources may be unavailable without proper diagnosis and results. Considering the global health scenario, this could have an impact on public health since the Omicron variant is spreading at an unforeseen rate.”