Rapid Covid-19 test kits already up for sale in Hat Yai


A pharmacy in Songkhla’s Hat Yai district has already started selling rapid antigen test kits after the Public Health Ministry approved the use of these kits earlier this week to combat long queues for RT-PCR tests.

The ministry’s plan was to first deliver a supply of the test kits to more than 300 state hospitals nationwide before getting pharmacies to stock up.

On Wednesday, reports said the rapid test kits were already available at Pharmaplex, a large drug store in Hat Yai.

The store has a stock of some 400 kits, which is expected to be sold out within a week.

Pharmaplex manager Dr Phashinee Saokaew said the test kits sold in her store are of the “For a” brand. She also said results from these test kits are sometimes unreliable, so people should test themselves again in three or five days of getting a negative result.

Dr Thiravat Hemachudha, chief of Chulalongkorn University's Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases, had voiced similar concerns in a Facebook post.

Thiravat warned that the result can be false 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.

For instance, he 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.