COVID-19 Rapid Antigen test kits legal in T&T—Deyalsingh

COVID-19 Rapid Antigen test kits are legal for sale in this country.

That’s according to Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh who said approvals were given to some importers by the Chemistry, Food and Drugs Division.

“The process for registering Rapid Antigen Test is a simple process it could be done in a couple days,” Deyalsingh said at the Ministry of Health Press Conference on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Guardian Media learnt that some pharmacies were selling these test to the public, the one purchased was a brand called Hightop which is made in China. It was sold for $200.

“It is legal, it is legal for sale,” he said.

However, the minister did not reveal which kits were approved for sale, this as Guardian Media learnt that other pharmacies were selling another brand brought in by importers, the Panbio COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test Kit by Abbott. It retails for approximately the same $200.

Prices range from $300 to $600 at some Medical Clinics for Rapid Antigen tests.

“The advantages of Rapid Antigen testing is one, price, it’s relatively cheap, two, it’s quick but what you get for that you sacrifice in accuracy, “he said.

Guidelines for both test kits which give results in 15 minutes suggest that they be used be professionals only.

“Chemistry Food and Drugs will put out a release on which kits are approved,” the Minister said via WhatsApp.

On Tuesday, Head of the Pharmacy Board Andrew Rahaman said he had no idea that pharmacies were given the green light to sell COVID-19 home testing kits and for importers to bring them in.

But now that the minister confirmed, he wanted him to explain the criteria to prove that these tests are authentic.

For a second day, the Ministry of Health was not able to respond to questions sent by Guardian Media, assurance was given that answers would be provided to the five questions on Thursday.

“I am hoping that the only ones that they approve is the ones that are not as invasive to have to go to the back of the throat because someone administering for themselves will not be able to send it far back enough to get the proper sample,” Rahaman said.

He believes pharmacists should administer the tests to ensure that it’s done accurately and the results submitted to the Ministry of Health.

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