Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday said that it will write to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asking them to give directives to all chemists in the city to compile and share data of people buying Covid-19 home test kits.
The BMC said that it intended to contact individuals to ascertain the results after procuring this information from chemists. The decision was taken in the backdrop of concern that a large number of positive cases in the city are going unreported as many are not revealing their test status after testing positive in the home testing kit.
According to BMC officials, around 300,000 to 350,000 home test kits for Covid-19 have been supplied to Mumbai in first 10 days of this month. However, the results of only around 98,000 individuals who have conducted home tests have been declared to the civic body.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said, “We have got some rough figures and do not know how reliable they are but we are planning to develop a mechanism to ensure all those doing home testing for Covid-19 report to authorities. We will write to FDA on Thursday asking them to ensure all chemist owners in the city provide details of those purchasing home testing kits.”
Kakani added, “After getting this data, we will have our 24 ward war rooms to contact those individuals whose results in unknown. We once again request all citizens testing positive in-home kits to report their status so that they can get timely medical assistance.”
According to BMC officials, after purchasing the kits, individuals are asked to report their results status by using mobile app of manufacturer who in turn report to authorities. Those who do not update the app would be contacted specifically.
By the end of the week, the civic body is likely to issue a detailed circular that would cover home test kit sales, even on e-commerce sites, officials said.
As many as seven self-test kits have been approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) including Coviself by Mylab, CoviFind by Meril Diagnostics, PanBio by Abbott among others. These kits are affordable for the middle class, and range anywhere between ₹250 to ₹350.
“We have witnessed a jump of almost 700% sales of our self-test kit in Mumbai in the last one week. Self-test kit is turning out to be highly beneficial given the massive increase in cases because people can get tested quickly and immediately isolate themselves,” Hasmukh Rawal, managing director and co-founder of Mylab Discovery Solutions that manufactures Coviself, told HT on Sunday. According to reports, nearly 500,000 such kits were sold in Mumbai last week.
Prasad Danave President of Retail and Dispensing Chemist Association in Mumbai said that many chemists are already tracking buyers. “We have already informed our members to take down the mobile number of buyers who are purchasing home testing kits for Covid-19. We do not have any problem in giving the data but those buyers who want to hide such details, will go online and buy from e-commerce websites. These e-commerce websites do not need FDA permission, so authorities will have to figure that out.”
Meanwhile, experts point out that timely reporting of positive results to authorities from home testing kits become important to get registered and getting timely results. Dr Madhav Sathe, former microbiologist professor with Nair Hospital said, “The government should develop some mechanism to ensure that there is proper compliance of those getting tested using these home kits report their results with the government to ensure timely treatment.”
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