Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration had already approved 33 rapid antigen tests for use under the supervision of health professionals, but now the TGA has approved a number of at-home tests with both major supermarkets intending to sell the Chinese-manufactured Hough Pharma COVID Antigen Nasal Test from as early as November 1.
Coles plans to stock the rapid antigen test in 700 stores nationwide while also making it available via Coles Online. The same can be said of Woolies, which has already made the rapid test available for pre-order via digital health and wellness business Healthy Life with deliveries intended to go out from next week. Its stores in ACT, NSW and Vic will be the first to stock them.
However, due to ongoing government guidelines on interstate transport, Western Australia and South Australia will have to wait a little longer.
The rapid antigen tests, which have been widely used in Europe already as well as in a number of specific contexts here in Australia such as hospitals and courts, are expected to cost between $10-15 each. Woolies has confirmed that the nasal swab can be purchased in packs of five for $50.
Expect to see more rapid antigen tests appear on the market in the coming weeks with the TGA having said last month that they would like to see them available in as many available channels as possible—”on the internet, to pharmacies, convenience stores.”
While these quick turnaround tests will lessen the burden on testing sites, we’re being urged to be wary of the false sense of security these tests can give. Even still, Epidemiologist and public health consultant Henning Liljeqvist has said that ”a rapid antigen test is positive for the 10 or so days, in which a person will most likely give the virus to others” which is a much narrower time frame than the gold-standard PCR tests.
People that do receive a positive test result from an at-home rapid antigen test must then present for a PCR test.