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THURSDAY, September 28, 2023

Rapid test kits may not be very reliable, experts say

Rapid test kits may not be very reliable, experts say
WEDNESDAY, July 14, 2021

Medical experts have voiced concerns about the reliability of the rapid antigen test kits for Covid-19, especially if the tests are conducted by inexperienced people at home.

Earlier this week, health authorities announced that rapid test kits will be available in hospitals this week before being sold in pharmacies next week.

The test kits are being released to combat the long queues for an RT-PCR test, Public Health Ministry permanent secretary Kiattipoom Wongrachit said on Monday.

However, Dr Thiravat Hemachudha, chief of Chulalongkorn University's Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases, questioned the reliability of tests done by people at home.

He pointed out that the result can be wrong if people don’t understand the principles of an antigen test. In other words, testing negative on this rapid test kit does not mean they are not infected, he said.

For instance, the doctor said, saliva and samples taken from the nasal cavity can give different results due to the virus levels at the sources.

However, he conceded that though the test kits would provide unreliable results, there is no other option at this point in time.