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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Rural Doctor Society praises antigen test kits, says they must be accurate



PHOTO: dronepicr/Flickr

The frequently vocal Rural Doctor Society has raised a new concern. The society’s chairperson, Dr Supat Hasuwankit, wrote an open letter to PM Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday to remind the PM that the 8.5 million rapid antigen tests kits that are being obtained by the National Health Security Office by way of the Government Pharmaceutical Organization, needs to meet standards that the World Health Organization established.

Dr Supat’s letter lauded the merits of ATKs for screening people for Covid and its more inexpensive cost and its greater speed at showing test results compared to RT-PCR testing. Also, that the ATKs will expedite the access to treatment for infected people. The doctor went on to say that the average RT-PCR costs about 1,800 baht, which can get expensive when you’re testing 1,000 people. Dr Supat then added that ATKs only cost about 120 baht a pop, with a 10 baht service fee. The doctor praised the substantial savings that come from using ATKs.

After heaping praise on ATKs, Dr Supat warned that the critical aspect of ATKs is that the tests are accurate and are included on WHO’s emergency use list. He says that the NHSO wants the test kits to be used by medics, but not for use at home. He adds that the office has allotted an additional 85 million baht for the test kits to be given by medics. And another 11 million baht for giving the 1.1 million Abbott ATKs, which were donated by the Swiss government.

Dr Supat says the ATK price tag of 120 baht clearly indicates that the NHSO only wants professional ATKs and not home-use kits. He says if the GPO wants home use kits, the kits that would be obtained should cost less than 70 baht a test.



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Jack is from the USA, has a B.A. in English, and writes on a variety of topics. He lives in Thailand.

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