Here's How To Use A COVID-19 Self-Test Kit

They can give you results within 15 to 20 minutes.

Cover image via Shafwan Zaidon/Malay Mail & AFP/The Straits Times

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As COVID-19 becomes endemic, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has encouraged Malaysians to frequently use COVID-19 self-test kits to monitor themselves

COVID-19 self-test kits are also known as Antigen Rapid Test Kits (RTK-Ag) that only require a nasal swab or saliva sample, and can be done within 15 to 20 minutes at home.

In their guidelines, the MOH reminds individuals that the COVID-19 self-test kits are screening tools, used for the advantage of quick and easy detection.

They do not replace the gold-standard, diagnostic RT-PCR tests that confirm your COVID-19 status.

As there may be a variety in the market, the ministry is reminding consumers to ensure that the kits they buy are approved by the Medical Device Authority (MDA)

The COVID-19 self-test kits can be used by:
- Individuals who want to screen themselves for their COVID-19 status,
- Individuals who have had contact with COVID-19 cases, or
- Other screening opportunities, including at international entry points, interstate and pre-employment screening, as well as pre-admission to higher institutions.

The kits can now be bought online or from authorised healthcare providers, pharmacies, supermarkets, convenience stores, and petrol stations.

The recommended retail price for these tests is RM19.90, but can often be found for much cheaper.

You can find the full MDA list of approved COVID-19 self-test kits here.

How to use the COVID-19 self-test kits

Although all the tests are similar, always read the individual product's instructions before use.

Generally, this is how the procedure goes:
- Try not to eat or drink for at least 30 minutes before doing the test.
- Sanitise or wash your hands before opening the kit.
- Take the saliva (deeply cough and spit into the test tube) or swab sample (swab the inside of your cheek or nostril and stir it in the test tube) as stated in the kit.
- Add reagent into the test tube to be mixed.
- Add two drops of that sample into the well of the cassette, then wait 15 minutes.
- Read the test results. There will be a control line (C) and a test line (T).

After performing the test, make sure all the tools are thrown into the biohazard bag given in the kit and tie it up properly before disposal.

Also, disinfect the area you carried out the test at and wash your hands with soap and water.

In fact, here's a video tutorial to walk you through:

What to do after you've received your results

If you tested positive:
- You must report your positive result on MySejahtera (as mandated in the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 [Act 342]).
- You are to present yourself to either a private health facility, COVID-19 assessment centre (CAC), or nearby public health clinic for assessment and further action (most likely a confirmatory PCR test). Be sure to wear a face mask when leaving the house and avoid public transport.

If you tested negative:
- You may report your negative result on MySejahtera.
- However, if you have symptoms, please head to a private health facility or public health clinic for an assessment.
- If you are a close contact of a COVID-19 case, you must still continue your compulsory quarantine period of 10 days.

Head to the 'COVID-19 Self Test' section on MySejahtera to submit your test results.

Image via MySejahtera

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