Reduce dependence on RT-PCR screening, do more self-tests: M’sia health minister

He also said those tested positive on antigen rapid test kits should immediately undergo quarantine and need not seek a confirmation test.


March 15, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR – Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has advised the people to reduce dependence on reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) screening and instead use rapid test kits during the transition to endemic phase of Covid-19.

In a two-minute video posted on Twitter on Monday (March 14), he said the Antigen Rapid Test Kit (RTK-Ag) is more effective in tackling the Omicron wave, as it gives results in just 15 minutes.

“This compares with RT-PCR which is so sensitive that people who have recovered still tested positive on RT-PCR. In the current situation where the Omicron variant spreads rapidly, RTK is more effective as there is no need to wait 24 to 48 hours to know whether one is positive or not.

“The earlier we are detected, the faster we can isolate ourselves if found positive. It is better to have 1,000 people tested with RTK-Ag than 10 people with RT-PCR, although RT-PCR is more sensitive,” he said.

He said RTK-Ag is also cheaper than RT-PCR and is readily available on the market.

Khairy said those tested positive on RTK-Ag should immediately undergo quarantine and need not seek a confirmation test through RT-PCR screening.

He also said the Health Ministry, through the Medical Device Authority (MDA), had been directed to continue monitoring the quality of Covid-19 self-test kits in the market and take action on products which did not meet the required standards. – Bernama

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