Australia

Green light for first rapid antigen Covid-19 tests that Australians can use at home


Australians will be able to test themselves for Covid-19 at home from next month following a green light from the medicines regulator.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved three self-administered rapid antigen test kits that will be able to be supplied around the nation from November 1.

Two of the tests require spitting in a tube and the third test is a nasal swab.

More home testing kits are expected to become available pending TGA approval.

The kits are expected to be sold in pharmacies and online, and will complement the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing done at public clinics.

PCR testing is considered the “gold standard” as it provides more accurate results, but it takes longer as the tests need to be assessed in a laboratory.

Self administered rapid tests, which can provide a result within 20 minutes, are already used widely in Europe and the US.

Rapid antigen tests are already used in a range of workplaces in Australia such as some healthcare settings, aged care and television production.

SCOTT MORRISON PRESSER
Camera IconTGA boss John Skerritt has said professional rapid antigen tests will need to be transformed for home use. NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage Credit: News Corp Australia

TGA boss John Skerritt said in September the tests designed for professional settings would need to be transformed to make them suitable for home use.

“When a lot of these home tests were developed for Europe, the US and North America, we didn’t have much Delta (variant) around, so it is absolutely critical to check that they perform well with Delta,” he told a Senate Covid committee.

GREG HUNT PRESSER
Camera IconFederal Health Minister Greg Hunt last month flagged a November 1 date to begin the rollout of home rapid antigen testing. NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie Credit: News Corp Australia

He said vaccination levels by the end of October or early November would mean fewer implications of a false positive or false negative result from a rapid test.

Professor Skerritt said it would be up to state and territory governments to decide whether to implement public health orders to mandate reporting of any positive results.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said at the time that home tests were an important additional protection for Australians.



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