Cases of false-positive results from sub-standard COVID-19 antigen test kits have recently made the news, with affected people later tested negative from confirmatory RT-PCR tests. Thailand’s Prime Minister has urged the Ministry of Public Health to regulate the quality of test kits available in the market to ensure accurate results and the safety of users.
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has encouraged the general public to select only COVID-19 antigen test kits (ATK) authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The Prime Minister ordered Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul to regulate the quality of test kits available in the market, and prosecute those selling unauthorized kits.
The Department of Health Service Support has recently asked healthcare facilities to verify the source of medical equipment and vaccines provided to the general public.
Supha Saokaeo, a drug store owner in Hat Yai, Songkhla, said her shop has seen high demands for test kits, with around 500 kits sold here each month at between 90-150 baht apiece.
She said her shop only sells test kits authorized by the Thai FDA and the Ministry of Public Health while commenting that negative results could occur from the use of low-quality kits, or improper handle and storage of the kits.
Customers can check the Thai FDA’s website for approved self-test kits. They should also purchase the kits from reputable sellers to ensure the quality of products.
Dr. Sumanee Wacharasint, Department of Disease Control’s (DDC) communications director and deputy spokesperson of the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration, said the department is recommending antigen tests by people with exposure risks, people with suspicious symptoms, and at workplaces.
She said the antigen test is one of the preventative measures implemented alongside the COVID-Free Setting policy, adding that the test can be conducted weekly, or as frequently as required. (NNT)