As Omicron surges, self-test kits see rise in demand

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The omicron variant has begun a new wave as the country reports huge numbers in Covid-19 cases. As a result, the self-testing companies have found an opportunity to play in the market.

With cases rising, many people have opted to buy self-testing kits rather than wait in a queue all day at a test centre. Test submitted at a test centre will also take a day or two to release the results.

These testing kits did not have much success from July to October as cases were considerably low at the time. Now with the emergence of Omicron, testing kit companies are seeing a huge turnout of consumer interest in these kits.

Mylab’s Coviself is the main at-home test kit that most consumers buy. The customer has to take their sample and place it in a liquid. The device will reveal the result within 15-20 minutes of testing. This test kit is priced at 250 rupees.

The Pune-based Mylab Coviself test kit was approved by the ICMR back in May 2021. Since then, about 145 antigen testing kits have been approved of which, Coviself and CoviFind are the most used by the consumers.

These rapid antigen tests give quick results. However, the health department officials are also concerned about test results not being updated in the total count. As these tests are done at home, the majority of the cases will go unreported.

Both Mylab and CoviFind has reported a 500 to 700% increase in sales in the past month. Both companies have also launched commercials with well-known celebrities like MS Dhoni and Akshay Kumar.

Coviself featured Akshay Kumar in their TVC, while CoviFind featured MS Dhoni to promote their products.

Before the pandemic, self-testing kits were only the pregnancy tests and blood sugar/pressure tests. It is the first time in India where we see, a self-testing product for a virus/disease. These tests are as easy as taking the pregnancy tests.

But, people are still reliant on testing centre diagnosis as it is still the most effective method of testing with reliable results. No home-testing kit gives an RT-PCR test which is the most important test.

However, with the current caseload, people might have to wait for three days to get the results.

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