facebookCOVID-19 Self-Test Kits: Which One Should I Choose?

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COVID-19 Self-Test Kits: Which One Should I Choose?

profileXue Miao

I was still happily dining out when the news of the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) restrictions hit yesterday.

The Government mentioned that if not for our healthy progress with our vaccination programme, it would’ve easily been another Circuit Breaker.

It was just two weeks ago when we saw ZERO locally transmitted COVID cases before someone with an itchy backside decided to ruin our wonderful efforts.

The reemergence of COVID-19 clusters is a grim reminder that the virus is still omnipresent in our lives.

As we stay responsible by leaving our homes only when required, some of us might still be concerned about our healths and the risks of contracting the virus.

Lucky for us, we can now easily purchase COVID-19 self-test kits to get ourselves tested without making to make a trip down to the clinic.

TL;DR: COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test (ART) Self-Test Kits 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 SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Self-Test NasalSD Biosensor Standard Q COVID-19 Ag Home TestBD Veritor At-Home COVID-19 Test
Authorisation Date31 May 20212 June 20219 June 20219 June 202115 June 2021
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: 82.5%
Specificity: 100%
Sensitivity: 81%
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.
Time taken to obtain results15 minutes10 minutes15 to 30 minutes15 minutes15 minutes
Storage- Store at a cool, dry place (2-30°C)
- Avoid storage in direct sunlight
- Do not freeze
- Store at room temperature (15-30°C)
- Avoid storage in direct sunlight
- Do not freeze
- Store at a cool, dry place (2-30°C)
- Avoid storage in direct sunlight
- Do not freeze
- Store at a cool, dry place (2-30°C)
- Avoid storage in direct sunlight
- Do not freeze
- Store at a cool, dry place (2-30°C)
- Avoid storage in direct sunlight
- Do not freeze
Minimum AgeFor all ages (no min. age limit), including pregnant woman2 years old and aboveNot statedNot stated2 years old or older
Price
(as of 21 Jul 2021)
$11.50 (1pc), $90.90 (10pc), $174.60 (20pc)$18.70 (2pc), $218.70 (25pc)
TBCTBCTBC

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

Source: Giphy

For anyone who would like to get a quick test, we can now purchase a COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test (ART) self-test kit.

Similar to a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) swab test, a sample is taken with a swab from the nose.

Yes, you can now poke your noses yourself.

This test screens for the SARS-CoV-2 antigen (the virus that causes COVID-19) by detecting the coating or protein of the virus.

It acts as a quick screening tool to detect infection for asymptomatic individuals, and results can be retrieved in less than 20 minutes.

How Accurate is the ART?

Source: Roche Diagnostics

The ART is being made accessible to the public as it is safe, has a quick turnaround time, and is inexpensive.

This type of test is also 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 is still a possibility of either a false positive or false negative result from the ART.

Also, an ART might not be able to pick up the presence of antigens during the early stages of infection.

As such, a further PCR test might sometimes be required to confirm the result.

Who Can Use the COVID-19 Self-Test Kit?

Source: Centre Medical Europe

The ART self-test kit is available for anyone who is concerned about their potential exposure to COVID-19 and would like to do a quick test on their health.

Some companies might also encourage their employees to do regular testing, especially for those who are in higher-risk settings to avoid workplace transmission.

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, or breathing difficulties (Please visit a Swab And Send Home (SASH) clinic)

Please visit a licensed ART provider to have your test performed by a professional instead if you:

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

Do also take note of the age restrictions for use, which vary according to the type of kit.

Where To Buy COVID-19 Self-Test Kit in Singapore

These self-test kits can be purchased from various retailers such as major pharmacies like Guardian, Watsons, and Unity.

It has also been recently extended to retailers including supermarkets and convenience stores.

There will also be a progressive increase in retail locations for the sale of these kits.

COVID-19 Self-Test Kit Price in Singapore

Source: Gov.sg

There are currently five 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

Here’s a quick comparison of the test kits available 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 SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Self-Test NasalSD Biosensor Standard Q COVID-19 Ag Home TestBD Veritor At-Home COVID-19 Test
Authorisation Date31 May 20212 June 20219 June 20219 June 202115 June 2021
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: 82.5%
Specificity: 100%
Sensitivity: 81%
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.
Time taken to obtain results15 minutes10 minutes15 to 30 minutes15 minutes15 minutes
Storage- Store at a cool, dry place (2-30°C)
- Avoid storage in direct sunlight
- Do not freeze
- Store at room temperature (15-30°C)
- Avoid storage in direct sunlight
- Do not freeze
- Store at a cool, dry place (2-30°C)
- Avoid storage in direct sunlight
- Do not freeze
- Store at a cool, dry place (2-30°C)
- Avoid storage in direct sunlight
- Do not freeze
- Store at a cool, dry place (2-30°C)
- Avoid storage in direct sunlight
- Do not freeze
Minimum AgeFor all ages (no min. age limit), including pregnant woman2 years old and aboveNot statedNot stated2 years old or older
Price
(as of 21 Jul 2021)
$11.50 (1pc), $90.90 (10pc), $174.60 (20pc)$18.70 (2pc), $218.70 (25pc)
TBCTBCTBC

The kits will be sold between $10 to $13 as per the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) recommended guidelines.

As these tests are meant to be used by the public, no doctor’s prescription is required for their purchase.

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

Mandatory Fast and Easy Tests (FETs)

According to the government, some of these higher-risk companies will be able to get these test kits for free for the next few months.

Since 15 July, Fast and Easy Test (FETs) have been made mandatory for certain businesses.

For instance, employees for businesses that remain open during Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) have to continue with the regular 14-day FET requirement.

How Do I Use the 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 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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