Proper guidance needed for Covid-19 self-test kit

Proper guidance needed for Covid-19 self-test kit

KUALA LUMPUR: Anyone getting the Covid-19 rapid self-test kit should be guided in its use by a medical practitioner to obtain reliable results, said International Medical University (IMU) Institute for Research, Development & Innovation (IRDI) deputy director, Prof Dr Azizi Ayob.

He said that although the kit would come with instructions, the right technique should be sought from an expert to avoid a false-negative or false-positive result.

“It’s because the possibility of making a mistake in any test is high, namely when collecting a saliva sample, doing the test and interpreting the results. So to reduce the chance of error, guidance is necessary,” he told Bernama.

He also urged the Ministry of Health (MOH) to raise awareness about using the kit correctly to ensure an accurate reading and that safety procedures are followed.

He said that even though it is a self assessment, people must practise safety and hygiene to avoid exposing others to the deadly virus.

He said the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) like in hospitals and clinics is not compulsory, but the kit user must make sure they don’t cause infections.

“This includes minimising exposure by self-testing in a special room, wearing gloves, using a hand sanitiser and safely disposing of the kit.

“Since testing is being done at home, the practical way of disposing is to use two plastic trash bags per person which have been securely tied,” he said.

Prof Azizi said currently there are no specific disposal guidelines like those at laboratories and health facilities for clinical waste.

He also said that the public must be highly self-disciplined, especially after testing positive for Covid-19, by keeping the relevant authorities notified, doing a contact confirmation and isolating.

The president of a Muslim medical and healthcare practitioners’ group called I-Medik also appealed to the public to inform a district health office, clinic or hospital if their symptoms worsen so that they can get immediate care.

Meanwhile, Hospital Kasih Cyberjaya occupational and general health specialist, Dr Hanafiah Bashirun, recommended the MOH do a video on how to use the test kit.

He believes the kit will reduce the testing burden on hospitals, clinics and Covid-19 assessment centres (CACs) which have to process hundreds of thousands of samples every day.

He also said that the sale of the kits online should be regulated to ensure only MOH-licenced products are sold.

“This will ensure that people don’t exploit the situation to make big bucks when demand is high,” he said.-Bernama