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COVID-19 self-test kits to hit local convenience stores shelves

A model holds COVID-19 test kits developed by Humasis at a branch of convenience store chain GS25. (GS25)
A model holds COVID-19 test kits developed by Humasis at a branch of convenience store chain GS25. (GS25)

COVID-19 self-test kits developed by local companies are available at convenience stores here, startubg Wednesday.

GS Retail announced Wednesday that the company’s convenience store chain GS25 would begin the sale of COVID-19 self-test kits at around 2,000 locations nationwide, the South Korean retail company said.

They products would be also available at the company’s grocery store chain GS Supermarket and health and beauty chain Lalavla, starting on Friday.

There are two products -- one developed by Humasis and another developed by SD Biosensor. Both the kits received conditional use approval from the Korea Food and Drug Administration last week.

The Humasis one costs 10,000 won and the SD Biosensor kit is priced at 9,000 won.

The self-test kits both use sterile nasal swabs to detect specific antigens of COVID-19 present in the nasal cavity. Users can get the results in 15 to 20 minutes.

“GS 25 has decided to introduce the COVID-19 self-test kits, with the aim of covering isolated regions that are away from essential medical services,” an official from GS Retail said.

Self-test kits are, however, less accurate than polymerase chain reaction tests and can yield false positive or false negative results. Those who suspect an infection or have COVID-19 symptoms, even with a negative result, are recommended to take a PCR test, according to the Drug Safety Ministry.

By Shim Woo-hyun (ws@heraldcorp.com)
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