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COVID-19 self-test kits hit pharmacy shelves

Bio-diagnostic firm SD Biosensor workers check self-test kits ahead of sales on Thursday at its Osong plant in North Chungcheong Province. (Yonhap)
Bio-diagnostic firm SD Biosensor workers check self-test kits ahead of sales on Thursday at its Osong plant in North Chungcheong Province. (Yonhap)
Sales of coronavirus self-test kits that offer results in 30 minutes began on Friday at pharmacies nationwide.

Hanmi Pharmaceutical started distributing bio-diagnostic firm SD Biosensor’s at-home test kits nationwide through its affiliate, Online Pharm, which specializes in pharmacy sales and distribution.

It will also be available on its website (www.hanmiprocalm.com) for ordinary customers.

With the kit, a user can check whether they test positive or not within 15 to 30 minutes after nasal swabs are dropped into the kit.

If two red lines materialize on the stick’s indicator strip, which means a positive test result, users must visit a screening clinic for a polymerase chain reaction test, authorities said.

A single red line that appears indicates a negative result.

Those who suspect an infection or have COVID-19 symptoms, even with a negative result, should take a PCR test, the Drug Safety Ministry said.

Self-test kits are deemed less accurate than PCR tests and can yield false positive or false negative results.

Users should not blow or clean their nose one hour before the examination. Authorities also warned that the diagnostic self-test kits should not be used for those under the ages of 18.

“The self-examination kit can be used by people with respiratory symptoms,” Jeong Eun-kyung, head of Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, said earlier.

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)
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