How To Use DIY Covid-19 Kits: Step-By-Step Video & Photo Guides So You Don’t Get It Wrong
We tried two DIY test kits that are now available in Singapore.
Maybe you’ve been notified by the Ministry of Health of possible exposure to a Covid-19 case, or have been suffering respiratory symptoms, and want to get tested for Covid-19 for a peace of mind. Or perhaps you’re an employee in an industry where routine testing of staff is mandatory. You could head to a testing centre to get tested — or you can do it in the comfort of your own home or workplace.
What you’ll need is a DIY Antigen Rapid Test (ART) self-test kit. It is, after all, the quickest and most convenient way to do Covid-19 tests yourself. Not only does it produce results in less than 20 minutes, it’s readily available in Singapore now at supermarkets, pharmacies (Guardian, Watson’s and Unity) and online at Lazada and pandamart. All Singapore households will also receive two free DIY ART test kits from the government, starting first with those who live near large clusters.
But what good is a DIY ART self-test kit if you don’t know if you’re doing it correctly? To demonstrate how to do these tests, we enlist the help of restaurant co-owner Johann Lim.
Johann shows us how to use two self-swab ART kits: The Abbott PanBio COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test and Quidel QuickVue At-Home OTC COVID-19 Test are among the five ART self-swab tests currently approved by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA).
Bear in mind, though, that DIY antigen rapid tests performed at home cannot be used for pre-event testing (PET). And while quicker than polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, aka the gold standard for Covid-19 tests, if you get a positive or invalid result from your DIY ART kit, you’ll still have to go to an appointed clinic for a confirmatory PCR test.
Each box comes with 1 test set, which comprises a test device, tube, blue cap swab, buffer bottle, a kit box plastic tray and a small sealable bag to store your trash after the test is completed. You will need to have your own timer on standby.
How to use the Abbott Panbio Covid-19 Antigen Self-Test: A video guide
Need a closer look? Scroll on.
Step 1: Wash or sanitise your hands, and dry them before you start.
Step 2: Stand the tube upright on the kit box tray, and unscrew the blue cap.
Step 3: Take the buffer bottle (with liquid inside) and twist and pull the tab to open it, while keeping it upright.
Step 4: Squeeze liquid from the buffer bottle into the tube. Squeeze at least twice. Ensure the liquid is at or slightly above the fill line indicated on the tube. Place tube back on the tray holder.
Step 5: Take out the swab stick from the packaging. Make sure you’re holding the stick end only.
Step 6: Swab both nostrils by inserting the soft end into your nostril until you feel some resistance (about 2cm, or until the upper end of your nostril). Rotate the swab slowly at least five times in the nostril — make sure you rub the insides of your nasal passage as you’re doing so.
Step 7: Using the same swab stick, repeat Step 6 on the other nostril.
Step 8: Insert swab stick into the tube and swirl it in the liquid for at least five times. Make sure you push against the sides of the tube as the stick rotates. Finally, pinch the swab stick through the tube to squeeze any remaining liquid out from the soft end of the swab stick.
Step 9: Lift the swab stick and look for a break line on it. Snap it at the break line. Leave the soft end of the swab in the tube and throw away the stick.
Step 10: Close the tube with the blue cap. Leave it on the tray holder, again standing upright.
Step 11: Open the packaging with the small rectangular shaped test device. Place the test device on a flat surface.
Step 12: Pick up the tube again, and check if there are any bubbles in the liquid. If there are, wait until they disappear. Then remove the white cap at the base of the tube.
Step 13: Squeeze five drops of liquid from the tube onto the circular-shaped well on the device. Secure white cap back on the tube.
Step 14: Wait for 15 minutes. Do not move the test device at all during this time. Keep it flat on the table.
Step 15: Read results after 15 minutes, but before 20 minutes (results may be inaccurate by then).
Reading the results on the Abbott Panbio Covid-19 test kit:
You’ve tested negative for Covid-19 when you see: Only one line at C on the test device.
You’ve tested positive for Covid-19 when you see: Two lines at C and T.
It’s an invalid result if you see: No lines at C and T, or only a line at T but no line at C.
Step 16: Put swab, test device and tube in the sealable bag and dispose of your kit in the trash bin.
Unlike the Panbio test kit, each box in the QuickVue test kit comes with two sets of test kits, so it works out to be slightly cheaper per set. Each test kit includes: a tube with liquid inside, tube holder, swab stick and a test strip.
How to use the Quidel QuickVue At-Home OTC Covid-19 Test: A video guide
Step 1: Wash or sanitise hands, and dry them before starting.
Step 2: Place tube upright on tube holder.
Step 3: Open the packet with the swab stick and remove the swab. Do not touch the soft end of the swab.
Step 4: Insert swab into nostril (about 2cm, or until the upper end of your nostril). Rotate the swab slowly at least five times in the nostril — make sure you rub the insides of your nasal passage as you’re doing so.
Step 5: Using the same swab, repeat Step 4 in the other nostril.
Step 6: Remove cap from the tube. Place swab inside the tube, ensuring it’s touching the bottom.
Step 7: Stir swab in liquid inside tube three to four times.
Step 8: Leave swab in the solution, and wait for 1 minute.
Step 9: Squeeze out as much liquid from the swab head by rubbing it against the inside of the tube.
Step 10: Open the test strip. Hold only the end where there are printed words, and do not touch the other end of the strip.
Step 11: Place the test strip in the tube, with arrows pointing down.
Step 12: Wait for 10 minutes.
Step 13: Remove test strip from tube. Place test strip on flat surface and check results.
Reading the results on the QuickVue Covid-19 test kit:
You’ve tested negative for Covid-19 when you see: Only a blue line on the test strip.
You’ve tested positive for Covid-19 when you see: Both a blue and a pink line on the test strip.
It’s an invalid result if you see: No lines at all, or only a pink line.
Step 14: Throw the used test kit away.
What to do if you test positive or get invalid results from a DIY antigen rapid self-test kit?
According to the Ministry of Health, you should take a photo of your identification card next to the test result, before disposing of the test kit. Then mask up, and visit a Swab and Send Home (SASH) clinic (full list here) to take a PCR test to confirm the results.
Photos: Alvin Teo
Videos: Pyron Tan
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