Sun, January 23, 2022


Medical group questions plan to order rapid antigen test kits for home use

The governments idea of allowing people at home to use rapid antigen test kits (ATK) is fraught with risks, as the World Health Organisation (WHO) has not yet endorsed such test kits, the Federation of Doctors of central and general hospitals has warned.

In an article published on its website on Friday, the federation said only four types of test kits had been certified by the WHO, all of which were required to be examined by medical personnel, and could be dangerous if used by the general public.

On Tuesday, the prime minister approved ordering 8.5 million Covid-19 screening kits, or ATKs, for self or home use, that must be registered by the Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and certified by the WHO.

In the article, the federation said an order had been issued to buy ATKs that did not exist yet.

The article said that there were two types of rapid tests: the type that were required by medical personnel to examine (professional use), and the type that allowed people to test by themselves at home. The WHO had certified only four types of ATK for emergency use, according to the data on July 14, which were the types that have to be tested in a medical setting by qualified personnel. 

The National Health Security office (NHSO) has assigned the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) to purchase the ATKs for home use, but it would be impossible for the GPO to provide the particular ATK, except distributing the professional-use type for home use instead, the article said.

The four types of rapid test kits certified by the WHO for use in laboratories and by medical personnel are:

  1. The SD Biosensor, Z’s Standard Q Covid-19 Ag Test (nasal) that can be tested for administration by healthcare workers and labs only.
  2. The Abbott Rapid Diagnostics jena GmbH’s Panbio Covid-19 Ag Rapid (Nasopharyngeal) that can be used only by professionals.
  3. The Abbott Rapid Diagnostics jena GmbH’s Panbio Covid-19 Ag Rapid (nasal) that is intended for professional use only.
  4. The Premier Medical Corporation Private Limited’s Sure Status Covid-19 Antigen Card Test that can be used by healthcare providers.

A source at the Federation of Doctors of central and general hospitals explained that the ATK reagents for professional use and home use were not much different. But the sticks used to collect samples in the nasal cavity for examination were different. Professionals use a longer stick because the samples are collected from the area of the posterior nasal cavity about 6-7 centimetres deep. The testing stick for home-use is shorter, as the sample is collected in the nasal cavity about two centimetres deep.

“It can cause danger and harm if the professional ATK is used by those who have not been trained to collect samples from the posterior nasal cavity. If the test procedure is not done correctly, the testing stick could break and cause problems. The professional-use type is to be used by trained personnel, otherwise it can give out false results or can cause danger,” said the source.

Published : August 22, 2021

By : The Nation