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Covid-19 self-test kits to go on sale at selected pharmacies from June 16; limited initially to 10 per customer

SINGAPORE — Four brands of Covid-19 self-test kits that enable antigen rapid tests will go on sale at retail pharmacies from next Wednesday (June 16), so that the general public may do nasal swab tests themselves at home.

Covid-19 self-test kits to go on sale at selected pharmacies from June 16; limited initially to 10 per customer

The Health Sciences Authority cautioned that antigen rapid tests have a higher chance of false negative results than polymerase chain reaction tests, so people who have acute respiratory infection symptoms should consult a doctor.

  • Four brands of self-test kits that enable antigen rapid tests will go on sale from June 16
  • The public may buy them from Guardian, Unity, and Watsons
    They will be made available at more shops progressively
  • Each person may buy only up to 10 kits
  • The tests will allow the Government to detect Covid-19 cases more quickly

 

SINGAPORE — Four brands of Covid-19 self-test kits that enable antigen rapid tests will go on sale at retail pharmacies from next Wednesday (June 16), so that the general public may do nasal swab tests themselves at home.

The four self-test kits, which have been granted interim authorisation from the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), are: 

  • Abbott PanBio Covid-19 Antigen Self-test

  • QuickVue At-Home OTC Covid-19 Test

  • SD Biosensor Sars-CoV-2 Antigen Self-Test Nasal 

  • SD Biosensor Standard Q Covid-19 Ag Home Test

These kits will be sold at Guardian and Unity pharmacies, and Watsons outlets. They will be made available at more shops progressively.

To ensure that there are enough supplies for all, sales will be initially limited to 10 kits a person, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a statement on Thursday.

Antigen rapid tests detect the viral proteins in the nasal swab samples of infected individuals and usually work best in the early stages of infection.

Speaking at a press conference by the Government's Covid-19 task force on Thursday, Associate Professor Kenneth Mak, the director of medical services at MOH, said that the fast and easy-to-use tests will allow the Government to detect infections more quickly, particularly among people who do not have acute respiratory infection or are concerned that they have been exposed to the coronavirus.

“Testing also provides us with the assurance that our homes, retail places and workplaces are safe,” he added.

HSA said that as part of its interim authorisation, developers of these kits are required to collect the relevant accuracy and safety data and monitor the use of their tests.

The authority also requires more data from ongoing clinical studies to be submitted even after approval is granted, so that it can ensure the continued safety and efficacy of these tests being used by consumers.

In a press release, American healthcare company Abbott, which received provisional authorisation to release its self-test kits here, said that it expects to make “millions” of its test kits available in Singapore over the coming months.

These kits will be able to inform users of their infection status in 15 minutes, it said.

Abbott will also supply 20 million of its Panbio Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Test Device for professional use by the end of this month. The self-test kit for the mass market is based on this professional test device, it added.

HOW TO USE THE SELF-TEST KITS

Explaining how the kits should be used, HSA said that users of these self-test kits should collect their nasal sample using the swab provided in the kit. They should then prepare their nasal sample with the buffer and tube provided.

Once the sample is ready, users should use it with the test device and read the results.

HSA urged users to follow the instructions included in the test kits closely to get valid results.

Those who have a positive result on the self-test kit should immediately approach a Swab and Send Home Public Health Preparedness Clinic for a confirmatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, MOH said.

They will then have to self-isolate until they receive a negative PCR test result. 

Those who test negative on their self-test kits should continue to stay vigilant and adhere to prevailing safety regulations, MOH added.

People who have symptoms of an acute respiratory infection should continue to visit a doctor for a full diagnosis and PCR test instead of relying on the antigen rapid test self-test kit.

HIGHER CHANCE OF FALSE NEGATIVITY

In its press release, HSA said that antigen rapid tests can achieve a sensitivity of about 80 per cent for cases with higher viral loads. Sensitivity refers to the test’s ability to correctly detect the coronavirus infection in individuals.

These tests also have the ability to correctly identify individuals without an infection within a specificity range of 97 to 100 per cent.

With a lower sensitivity than PCR tests, antigen rapid tests have a higher chance of false negative results, HSA cautioned.

“Incorrect sample preparation or testing process when using the test, or a low viral protein level in the user’s nasal sample, could also result in a false negative result,” it added.

It therefore urged all those who exhibit acute respiratory infection symptoms to consult a doctor.

Related topics

Covid-19 Covid-19 testing coronavirus Guardian Unity Watsons HSA

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