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Local researchers in Thailand develop rapid antigen tests

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Local researchers in Thailand have developed a rapid antigen test to detect Covid-19, for use in professional settings at at home. The National Nanotechnology Centre under the National Science and Technology Development Agency developed the test which was subsequently approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The professional version was approved back in July, while the self-test version was approved September 28. Chief researcher Natpapatsorn Wiriyachaiporn says after developing the professional test kits, the number of Covid-19 cases kept increasing.

“After we developed the professional-use kits, infections were continuously surging from July. And then the government promoted the use of self-testing, so we developed the research further into self-test kits.”

Natpapatsorn also says the professional test kits’ results must be analysed by experts, while the self-test rapid antigen kits must be confirmed by an RT-PCR test. Wannee Chinsirikul, executive director of the National Nanotechnology Centre, says the self-test kits will increase safety and sanitation measures during the Covid-19 pandemic. He says the highly-effective test kits will help detect more cases accurately while also speeding up quarantine placement and treatment.

The public can use the self-test kits by inserting swabs into their noses and rolling them 5 times in both nostrils before dropping and squeezing the end of the swabs into the provided tubes. The swabs then need to be pulled out and the tube closed for 1 minute. Then, the user needs to squeeze 5 drops from the tube onto a test strip and wait 15 minutes for the results. Natpapatsorn says the public must carefully read the kit instructions to make sure they conduct the self-testing correctly in order to ensure accurate results.

She also says the centre made instructional media that can be downloaded with a QR code to help make the instructions easier to understand. The date of the tests’ availability hasn’t been announced yet as it is waiting for national authorities to discuss its production with the private sector.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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