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People's Daily Online

COVID-19 antigen self-testing kits appear at pharmacies, online platforms

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 14:56, March 18, 2022

BEIJING, March 18 (Xinhua) -- COVID-19 antigen home-testing kits have started to mushroom at drug stores and e-commerce platforms in China, as the country is resolute in taking stricter and swifter measures to stem new infections.

China has reported resurgences of COVID-19 cases since March in a number of provincial-level regions.

Rapid identification of infection sources requires a method that is easy to use and promote, which can better serve the mass health screenings, said Zhao Gang, head of the center for disease control and prevention in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province.

China last week added antigen detection as an option for COVID-19 testing among the public, in efforts to boost the early discovery of COVID-19 cases, according to the National Health Commission (NHC).

Antigen detection is applicable to people with symptoms like cough or fever, people under quarantine observation and people who are willing to have antigen self-testing, Zhao explained.

COVID-19 antigen self-testing products can be bought directly through e-commerce giant Alibaba's Taobao app since March 14, and the prices for one reagent for each sample are around 20 yuan (about 3.15 U.S. dollars).

The products allow people to test for the virus by swabbing their nose, with results within 20 minutes.

As of Wednesday, the National Medical Products Administration has approved 12 varieties of COVID-19 antigen self-testing products from enterprises such as Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech Co., Ltd. and Beijing Jinwofu Bioengineering Technology Co., Ltd.

More and more pharmacies and online platforms launched cooperations with those enterprises, people in many provinces now can make orders and wait for courier deliveries.

Some Chinese cities have started distributing COVID-19 antigen self-testing kits to citizens, as part of efforts to accelerate massive epidemiological screening.

A resident from Yuhang District in Hangzhou surnamed Chen said he is very willing to use self-test kits as it is quite convenient.

"When I see negative results, I will feel reassured to go to work or meet friends," he said.

The local health authority reminded that citizens who tested positive using the self-test kits should report to one's community at once, stay put and live separately from their family, waiting for medical professionals to collect their samples.

Antigen detection results can now be used in screening for COVID-19 infection, while nucleic acid test results are still decisive for diagnosis, said the NHC.

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