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Buying Rapid Antigen Test Kits Online? Consider These Things First

Buying Rapid Antigen Test Kits Online? Consider These Things First

Unless you undergo testing, you’ll never know if you have COVID-19 or another condition, such as the common cold or flu. After all, most of their symptoms are the same save for difficulty breathing. If you don’t undergo testing, then you need to isolate yourself; you can’t work with others, and you certainly cannot travel. On top of that, you may also experience anxiety over the possibility of having a severe case of COVID-19 and infecting the people you spent time with. These reasons are why many are eager to purchase a rapid antigen test kit.

Rapid Antigen Test Kits, An Overview

The gold standard for COVID-19 testing is still the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test. Since this uses a PCR machine, you can only get tested in registered clinics, hospitals, or laboratories. Not only do you need to wait one to a couple of days for the result, but RT-PCR tests are quite expensive too. One test kit commonly costs a few thousand pesos.

These “downsides” make the use of a rapid antigen test kit appealing. Rapid antigen tests are not as accurate as RT-PCR testing, but they can still tell you whether or not you have COVID-19. On top of that, they yield results faster (within minutes), are more convenient, and are less expensive.

The question is, can you now buy a self-administered rapid antigen test kit?

Things To Keep in Mind When Buying a Rapid Antigen Test Kit Online

The first thing you need to remember in case you want to purchase a rapid antigen test kit is you are taking a significant risk.

According to the Department of Health, the test kits found online have yet to secure FDA approval². As of this writing, we only have approved rapid test kits for commercial use, meaning only healthcare professionals can administer them in clinics, hospitals, or laboratories.

In other words, if you purchase them, you cannot be certain about a number of things:

  • Authenticity: It may look like one of the approved kits for commercial use, but it may be a counterfeit.
  • Accuracy: If it turns out to be counterfeit, then the rapid antigen test kit might not be accurate. This is dangerous because you might have a false-negative result, skip isolation and infect others.
  • Safety: Counterfeit products may not have correct and detailed instructions regarding use and disposal. Wrong usage may lead to wrong results.

Where To Get Tested

Instead of spending money on counterfeit products which potentially put you and those around you at risk, it’s best to undergo testing at registered sites.

For instance, if you’re after convenience, consider malls. Many malls now have drive-thru or walk-in testing sites.

You might also want to check in with a nearby clinic or pharmacy. Watsons, for instance, sells a rapid antigen test kit provided you have a prescription and a healthcare worker will administer the test³.

The following also have convenient COVID testing services:

1. Alaga Health

Through their website and app, Alaga Health allows you to book your laboratory tests — including COVID testing — conveniently, without waiting in line. Alaga Health also provides free consultation to patients. For more information, head over to their Facebook Page or website.

2. Hi-Precision Diagnostics

Hi-Precision Diagnostics allows patients to book an appointment in advance in their preferred branch. Their Rapid Antigen Test costs PHP960; the discounted price for Senior Citizens is PHP768.

Here’s a list of Hi-Precision Diagnostic branches where you can avail of their Park N’ Swab, Booth Swab, and Home Testing services.

3. HomeLab

Like Alaga Health, HomeLab also has an application where you can conveniently book an appointment for COVID tests. Their Rapid Antigen Test service starts at PHP800 but may increase depending on where you want to have it done (branch and home address). The cost of RT-PCR starts at PHP2,650.

Visit their Facebook Page for more information.

Of course, there are other laboratories and clinics that offer convenient testing and home services. However, make sure that they are accredited by the DOH and that those who will administer the test are licensed healthcare professionals. You might also want to check out:

Final Reminders

If you had a positive Rapid Antigen Test, remember that you don’t need a RT-PCR test to confirm the results. Consider yourself a COVID-positive patient even if you only see a faint line.

If you had negative test results but are experiencing symptoms, confirm the results with a PCR test.

The government is already working on making self-administered rapid antigen tests available to the general public at a subsidized price.

Learn more about Coronavirus here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

1 Self-test kits for Covid-19 sans FDA approval may be fake: Duque, https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1164857, Accessed January 10, 2022

2 DOH says no self-administered antigen test kit has been registered with FDA, https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1537453/doh-says-no-self-administered-antigen-test-kit-has-been-registered-with-fda, Accessed January 10, 2022

3 LOOK: Antigen test kits for COVID-19 are now on sale, https://mb.com.ph/2021/10/26/look-antigen-test-kits-are-now-on-sale/, Accessed January 10, 2022

4 PCR AND ANTIGEN SWAB TESTING FOR COVID-19 DIRECTORY, https://www.hi-precision.com.ph/newsroom/PCRSWABTESTINGFORCOVID19DIRECTORY?fbclid=IwAR2LdcuCJC-HCPXETbk8dpbFtVYsGJD8hvBcvDmnD_CvTqrBLv06pI80hqg, Accessed January 10, 2022

5 Q&A with UChicago infectious disease expert Emily Landon, https://news.uchicago.edu/story/when-should-i-use-rapid-covid-test-and-how-accurate-are-they, Accessed January 10, 2022

6 Gov’t discusses plan to subsidize antigen self-test kits, https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1164606, Accessed January 10, 2022

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated 2 weeks ago
Fact Checked by Vincent Sales