COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests to be available for purchase next week
Thailand’s National Communicable Disease Committee (NCDC) is expected to allow people to purchase Rapid Antigen Test kits (ATK), to self-test for COVID-19 at home. They are expected to be available from pharmacies next week, according to the Public Health Ministry today (Monday).
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul announced that the NCDC has already approved the use of the kits in 300 hospitals, that provide verified RT-PCR tests. 24 brands of the ATKs have been approved by Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration.
The Disease Control Department will assign provincial communicable disease committees to set the guidelines for their use, before the ATKs can be purchased by the public, according to Permanent Secretary of the Public Health Ministry Dr. Kiattiphum Wongrachit, adding that the ministry is speeding up proactive screening in Bangkok, where the ATKs will be used extensively.
He also noted two issues that need to be addressed. First, the tests are 90% accurate. Secondly, how to manage those who test positive, as hospital beds are now fully occupied.
Home and community isolation will be used for mild and asymptomatic cases, where health officials will check on the patient twice a day, as well as provide them with thermometers, oxygen meters and medication.
If tested positive, patients can contact the nearest health clinic for further medical treatment.