facebookCovid-19 Antigen Rapid Test Self-Test Kits: Where To Buy & Which One Should I Choose?

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Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Test Self-Test Kits: Where To Buy & Which One Should I Choose?

profileXue Miao

With local Covid-19 cases climbing…

Group sizes for social gatherings are back to two and WFH is the default till 24 October 2021.

If not for our healthy progress with our vaccination programme, it would’ve easily been another Circuit Breaker or Heightened Alert.

Source: SpongeBob SquarePants | Giphy

The Ministry of Health has also strongly encouraged those who are unable to work from home.

Or have to return to the workplace for ad-hoc reasons, to self-test weekly via an antigen rapid test (ART) as part of our push towards frequent and widespread testing.

So just like you would have a war chest ready to deploy when markets prices dip.

This means that you should (ideally) have a ready stock of Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Self-Test kits at home to get yourself tested anytime you don’t feel so good.


TL;DR: Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Test (ART) Self-Test Kits in Singapore

There’re only 6 ART self-test kits that have been authorised by the Health Sciences Authority.

It’s unlikely that your nearby pharmacy or supermarket has them in stock as they’re a hot commodity right now.

But if you go online, the most widely available Covid-19 ART self-test kits that you can buy are:

  • Abbott Panbio Covid-19 Antigen Self-Test
  • Quidel QuickVue At-Home OTC Covid-19 Test
  • SD Biosensor Standard Q Covid-19 Ag Home Test

Here’s a quick price comparison and where you can buy these test kits online in Singapore:

COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test (ART) Self-Test KitAbbott PanBio™ COVID-19 Antigen Self-TestQuidel QuickVue At-Home OTC COVID-19 TestSD Biosensor Standard Q COVID-19 Ag Home Test
AccuracySymptomatic:
Sensitivity: 98.1%
Specificity: 99.8%

Asymptomatic:
Sensitivity: 93.8%
Specificity: 100.0%
Sensitivity: 83.5%
Specificity: 99.2%
Sensitivity: 82.5%
Specificity: 100%
Sensitivity: Test's ability to correctly identify those infected as positive

Specificity: Test's ability to correctly identify those not infected as negative.
Minimum AgeFor all ages including pregnant woman
(no min. age limit)
For 2 years and aboveFor all ages
(no min age limit)
Number of Rotations In Each Nostril5x4x10x
Results Ready In15 minutes10 minutes15 minutes
StorageStore in cool, dry place (2 to 30°C)

Avoid direct sunlight

Do not freeze
Store at room temp (15 to 30°C)

Avoid direct sunlight

Do not freeze
Store in cool, dry place (2 to 30°C)

Avoid direct sunlight

Do not freeze
Price
Guardian Online
(free delivery over $40)
Not availableNot available$13 (1s)
$18.60 (2s)
Watsons Online
(free delivery over $40)
Not availableNot availableNot available
Fairprice Online
(free delivery over $79)
Not availableNot available$10.93 (1s)
$18.90 (2s)
Shopee
(free delivery varies with vendor)
$12.35 (1s)
$44.65 (4s)
$97.65 (10s)
$178.47 (20s)
Not available$13 (1s)
$25 (2s)
Lazada
(free delivery varies with vendor)
$12.35 (1s)
$44.65 (4s)
$97.65 (10s)
$178.46 (20s)
Not available$21.40 (2s)
$50 (5s)

There’s not much difference in the price as they cost between $9 to $13 per kit depending on where you manage to get it.

The cost per kit is obviously cheaper if you buy in bulk, so always do so if you can.

This way you can also take advantage of free delivery as long as you meet the minimum spend.


What is an Antigen Rapid Test (ART) Self-Test Kit? How Does it Work?

Source: Giphy

For anyone who would like to do a quick screening test at home if they’re worried that you might have Covid-19.

We can now do so in 10 to 15 minutes via a Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Test (ART) self-test kit.

It basically works like a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) swab test.

All you need is a swab of the inside of your nose, and the test will screen for the SARS-CoV-2 antigen — the virus that causes Covid-19 — by detecting the coating or protein of the virus.

How Accurate are Covid-19 ART Self-Test Kits?

Source: Roche Diagnostics

The ART self-test kits that are approved by Health Sciences Authority under the Pandemic Special Access Route (PSAR) are:

  • safe
  • have a quick turnaround time
  • inexpensive
  • highly accurate

For instance, the Panbio™ COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test is able to correctly identify 99.8% of negative samples and 98.1% of positive samples.

The QuickVue At-Home OTC COVID-19 Test correctly identified 99.2% of negative samples and 83.5% of positive samples.

However, there’s still a possibility of getting a false positive or false negative result when using an ART self-test kit.

And the kit might not be able to detect the presence of antigens during the early stages of infection.

So if you’re ever in doubt, or are damn kiasi, you’ll want to get a PCR test to confirm the result.

Who Can Use Covid-19 ART Self-Test Kits?

Source: Centre Medical Europe

Pretty much anybody can use a Covid-19 ART self-test kit especially if you’re concerned about your potential exposure to Covid-19.

FYI: different kits have certain age restrictions so pay attention to that!

In fact, the Government encourages all employees who work onsite and are not already subjected to mandatory Rostered Routine Testing (RRT) to undergo weekly testing via ART self-test kits.

However, please do not perform any ART self-testing if you have any acute respiratory infection (ARI) symptoms such as

  • fever
  • cough
  • flu or runny nose
  • loss of sense of taste or smell
  • breathing difficulties

You should visit a Swab And Send Home (SASH) clinic instead.

Please visit a licensed ART provider to have your test performed by a professional if you’ve experienced or had:

  • Nosebleed in the past 24 hours
  • Nasal surgery in the last 4 weeks
  • Facial surgery in the last 8 weeks

Where To Buy Covid-19 ART Self-Test Kits in Singapore?

These Covid-19 ART self-test kits can be purchased from your neighbourhood pharmacies like Guardian, Watsons, and Unity.

Or even at supermarkets like NTUC Fairprice, Sheng Shiong, and Prime Supermarket.

Alternatively, you can get them via online marketplace likes Shopee and Lazada.

How Much Does A Covid-19 ART Self-Test Kit Cost?

Source: Gov.sg

There are currently 6 ART kits that have been authorised by Health Sciences Authority (HSA).

  • Abbott PanBioTM COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test
  • Quidel QuickVue At-Home OTC COVID-19 Test
  • SD Biosensor SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Self-Test Nasal
  • SD Biosensor Standard Q COVID-19 Ag Home Test
  • BD Veritor At-Home COVID-19 Test (for corporate sales)
  • BD Kit for Rapid Detection of SARS-CoV-2 (for corporate sales)

Even with the buying restriction of 10 ART kits per person, you’re unlikely to find the ART test kits available in store.

So you next best option is to buy them online, and you’ll most likely find these 3 ART test kits available:

  • Abbott PanBioTM COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test
  • Quidel QuickVue At-Home OTC COVID-19 Test
  • SD Biosensor Standard Q COVID-19 Ag Home Test

As of the time of writing, here’s a quick price comparison and where you can buy these test kits online in Singapore:

COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test (ART) Self-Test KitAbbott PanBio™ COVID-19 Antigen Self-TestQuidel QuickVue At-Home OTC COVID-19 TestSD Biosensor Standard Q COVID-19 Ag Home Test
AccuracySymptomatic:
Sensitivity: 98.1%
Specificity: 99.8%

Asymptomatic:
Sensitivity: 93.8%
Specificity: 100.0%
Sensitivity: 83.5%
Specificity: 99.2%
Sensitivity: 82.5%
Specificity: 100%
Sensitivity: Test's ability to correctly identify those infected as positive

Specificity: Test's ability to correctly identify those not infected as negative.
Minimum AgeFor all ages including pregnant woman
(no min. age limit)
For 2 years and aboveFor all ages
(no min age limit)
Number of Rotations In Each Nostril5x4x10x
Results Ready In15 minutes10 minutes15 minutes
StorageStore in cool, dry place (2 to 30°C)

Avoid direct sunlight

Do not freeze
Store at room temp (15 to 30°C)

Avoid direct sunlight

Do not freeze
Store in cool, dry place (2 to 30°C)

Avoid direct sunlight

Do not freeze
Price
Guardian Online
(free delivery over $40)
Not availableNot available$13 (1s)
$18.60 (2s)
Watsons Online
(free delivery over $40)
Not availableNot availableNot available
Fairprice Online
(free delivery over $79)
Not availableNot available$10.93 (1s)
$18.90 (2s)
Shopee
(free delivery varies with vendor)
$12.35 (1s)
$44.65 (4s)
$97.65 (10s)
$178.47 (20s)
Not available$13 (1s)
$25 (2s)
Lazada
(free delivery varies with vendor)
$12.35 (1s)
$44.65 (4s)
$97.65 (10s)
$178.46 (20s)
Not available$21.40 (2s)
$50 (5s)

There’s not much difference in the price as they cost between $9 to $13 per kit depending on where you manage to get it.

But what would do is merge my purchase with other necessities or groceries so that I can take advantage of free delivery when I meet the minimum spend.

Note: Do only get your test kits from authorised retailers!

How Do I Use a Covid-19 ART Self-Test Kit?

These self-test kits will be collecting nasal samples from the swabs provided.

As the instructions for these self-test kits would vary slightly, individuals should follow the instructions in the leaflets provided to get their results.

Nevertheless, there are some general rules to follow when using the ART test kit.

MOH has curated a list (with a catchy title – ‘The ABCDs of ART self-test kits‘) to help guide us along.

Here are some quick pointers:

  • Ensure you’re in a well-ventilated room and away from others
  • Find a flat surface to place your cartridge
  • Use a surface that can be easily cleaned and wiped down (e.g. your bathroom)
  • If your result is positive or invalid, please ensure that you have taken a photo of your result with your identification document (NRIC/passport) next to it before disposing of the kit
  • Make sure your used test kits are properly disposed

What Should I Do If I Get a Positive ART Test Result?

If you have a positive test or two invalid tests, follow the following steps below.

Take a photo of your ART test result(s) with your identification document (NRIC/passport) in the same photo immediately.

Visit a Swab and Send Home (SASH) Clinic

  • Please visit a SASH clinic for a confirmatory Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test
  • Call the SASH clinic in advance to make an appointment for a swab
  • Bring 1) the photo containing your identification document and result together, and 2) your physical identification document (NRIC/Passport) to the SASH clinic

Travelling to the Clinic

  • Travel to the clinic via private transport (car or taxi)
  • Sit alone in the back seat and on the opposite side of the driver
  • Wind down the windows (switch off air-conditioning) and wear a surgical mask throughout the ride
  • For motorcyclists, make sure you do not have a pillion rider

Travel Home and Self-Isolate

  •  After the confirmatory PCR test, please go home immediately via private transport and self-isolate until you receive your PCR results (typically 24 to 48 hours)
  • If you’re unable to self-isolate at home, do inform your doctor so that alternative arrangements can be made
  • If PCR test is positive, continue to self-isolate and await a phone call from MOH, where instructions on follow-up actions will be given

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About Xue Miao
A millennial who is learning to adult. She doesn't believe in the rat race and hopes to live on a farm someday.
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