Where to buy and what you need to know about Covid-19 test kits

Ever wondered where to get your hands on Covid-19 test kits? Here’s where you can to find them, as well as everything you need to know prior to making the purchase.

There are plenty of reasons to get tested for Covid-19. It could be a peace of mind for yourself, or out of concern for someone near and dear to you, or because of work or travel, or simply a germaphobe motivated by paranoia – justifiably so as community clusters and sporadic cases are trending in an odious direction. 

As of writing (July 26), there is a long list of approved Covid-19 test kits by the Medical Device Authority, a department of the Malaysian Health Ministry. However, not all of them are available to the public. For powerless individuals like you and me, beneficiaries of ever-changing policies, we are privy to three of them. These self-test kits are convenient and inexpensive.

(Photo: CityMedic)

Sold at various pharmacies, they are Salixium-Covid-19 Rapid Antigen Rapid Test manufactured by and for Reszon Diagnostics International; Gmate Covid-19 Ag Saliva for Home Use made by Philosys and distributed by CityMedic; and Beright Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Test Device produced by Hangzhou AllTest Biotech for Medinics. 

While each of them may differ in brands, they are based on the RTK-antigen test.  

Apart from the RTK-antigen test, there is also RT-PCR, which stands for reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Considered the gold standard, the RT-PCR test is performed to identify the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus genetic material (RNA). Due to the need of sophisticated equipment, the cost is more prohibitive and it takes anytime between one to 3 days to obtain the result.  

The rapidity of which the RTK-antigen test produces the result renders it a highly favourable alternative. Designed to detect viral proteins related to the Covid-19 virus, the RTK-antigen test can produce a negative or positive in as little as 15 minutes. It is not perfect, however, and therefore the RTK-antigen test is seen as a screening tool, while the more accurate RT-PCR is deployed in tandem as confirmatory, according to Caring Pharmacy. A false negative can arise if the concentration of antigen falls below the detection threshold.  

It is pivotal that you adhere to the instructions printed on the kit. To interpret the result, a negative result produces only one red line in “C” and no red line on “T” regions, while a pair of red lines appearing on “C” and “T” regions indicates a positive result. The result is considered invalid if no coloured line appears or only one red line appears on the “T” region.  

If the result is invalid, you are required to repeat the test with a new sample. If the self-test kit returns a positive, you are required to visit the Covid-19 assessment centre or health clinic for further assessment. Regardless of the outcome, however, once you have self-tested, you are advised to report the result to the Ministry of Health through the MySejahtera app. 

However, even if you are negative and fully vaccinated, it doesn’t mean that you are exempted from future infection. Continue to observe physical distance, wear a face mask and wash your hands. Find out where you can purchase Covid-19 self-test kits from the comfort of your home below.

* update On September 2, the Malaysian government announced a ceiling price for Covid-19 self-test kits of RM16 for wholesale and RM19.90 for retail. The price list below doesn’t reflect the latest enforcement, which will be effective from September 5. 

Hero and feature images by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

This article originally appeared on Lifestyle Asia

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