Local researchers develop Covid-19 antigen rapid tests

Local researchers develop Covid-19 antigen rapid tests

A local antigen rapid test for both professional use and self-testing has been developed and approved for the detection of Covid-19.

The test was developed by the National Nanotechnology Center under the National Science and Technology Development Agency.

The professional use and self-test versions of the kits were approved by the Food and Drug Administration on July 21 and Sept 28 respectively.

"After we developed the professional-use kits, infections were continuously surging from July," said chief researcher Natpapatsorn Wiriyachaiporn.

"And then the government promoted the use of self-testing, so we developed the research further into self-test kits," Ms Natpapatsorn said.

The professional-use kits must be analysed by experts, she said, adding that they use longer and more flexible swabs than self-test kits while the antigen-positive result of the self-test must be confirmed by an RT-PCR.

Dr Wannee Chinsirikul, executive director of the National Nanotechnology Center, said the self-test kits will elevate safety and sanitation measures during the pandemic.

The highly effective test kits will help in detecting cases more accurately while also speeding up quarantine and treatment, she said.

The antigen rapid test for self-testing purposes can be used by the public by inserting swabs into the nose and rolling them five times in both cavities before dropping and squeezing the end of the swabs into the tubes provided.

Then the swabs are pulled out and the tube closed for one minute.

A user then squeezes five drops from the tube onto a test strip and needs to wait 15 minutes for a result to become clear.

Ms Natpapatsorn said people need to carefully read the kit instructions to ensure an accurate result.

She added that the centre has made instructional media that can be downloaded via a QR code for easy understanding.

National authorities will discuss with the private sector about the production of the tests.

Details are to come about when the tests will be available.

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