Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved rapid test kits for over the counter sales and expects Covid-19 antigen test kits to be made available for sale next week.
The announcement by the Public Health Ministry authorizing over-the-counter sale of this medical device was published on Tuesday in the Royal Gazette.
The rapid test kits, however, will not be allowed to be sold online, said Dr Paisal Dunkhum, secretary-general of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Only authorised medical institutions, medical clinics, medical technology clinics and pharmacies with a licensed pharmacist on duty will be allowed to sell the rapid test kits, he said.
About seven out of all 24 companies whose products have been registered with the FDA for sale in Thailand have agreed to adjust their Covid-19 test kits to make them suitable for self testing, he said.
Rapid test kits online
Several Covid-19 antigen test kits have already been advertised on various online shopping platforms, most of which are products made in China, South Korea and Indonesia which will be shipped to Thailand in four days to a week, said an informed source.
The Rapid test kits will range in prices from 200 baht to 700 baht apiece, said the source.
“Honestly, the FDA is still worried that not all consumers will be able to use the test kits correctly and the fact that the [rapid antigen] test kit may not be as accurate as the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction [RT-PCR] test,” said Dr Surachok Tangwiwat, deputy secretary-general of the FDA.
Because the rapid antigen test kit works best on people with a high volume of the new coronavirus that causes Covid-19, a repeat test is required three days later if the first test gives a negative result, he said.
The difference between the rapid antigen test and the RT-PCR test is the former relies on specimens collected by nasal swabbing while the latter test uses specimens collected in the nasopharynx, which goes deeper into the nasal cavity, he said.
Although less accurate, the rapid test kit is important for people with a high risk of contracting the virus who need early detection if infected, said the doctor.
The FDA and the Department of Medical Science is speeding up production of a short video clip to be released which is aimed at educating consumers on how to use the rapid test kits correctly, he said.
In response to the expected high demand for the Covid-19 rapid test kits, the FDA will be working together with the Ministry of Commerce to ensure these products are sold at reasonable prices, said Dr Paisal.
56 Covid deaths, 8,685 new cases
Meanwhile, there were 56 new Covid-19 fatalities and 8,685 new cases reported over the previous 24 hours, the Public Health Ministry said on Tuesday morning. There were 8,539 cases in the general population and 146 among prison inmates.
Over the past 24 hours 3,797 Covid-19 patients were diagnosed as recovered and discharged from hospitals.
Since April 1, around when the third wave of Covid-19 began, there have been 324,849 Covid-19 patients, 228,029 of whom have recovered.
Since the pandemic started early last year, there have been 353,712 Covid-19 cases, 255,455 of whom recovered. The death toll was at 2,753 in the third wave and 2,847 from the beginning of the pandemic early last year.
Source: Bangkok Post, CTN News