The Institute for Medical Research (IMR) has completed its studies on two antigen rapid COVID-19 self-test kits (RTK-Ag) that use saliva and found that they had more than 90% sensitivity, said Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah, health director-general.
He said the details on the guidelines for the use of the self-test kits are being prepared by the Medical Device Authority (MDA) and are expected to be ready next week.
Just yesterday, the Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Maicci) distributed notes to its members after a virtual briefing by Dr. Noor Hisham saying the health DG explained that out of 15 brands of COVID-19 self-test kits available in the market, not all of them were evaluated for reliability and sensitivity. Some, which are already sold without approval, are not meeting standards.
“He (Noor Hisham) says – the commercial interest submits good batches for testing, but the sold ones have results that are half the testing batch – which will make self-testing unreliable,” the notes read. They also revealed that self-administered COVID-19 kits will only be made available in the commercial markets next month after authorities test their reliability.
In February, the health ministry already approved of “deep throat saliva” as COVID-19 test samples for the ministry’s RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) tests. Self-testing methods are considered an important step as they can save on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).