MoH starts testing South Korean antigen rapid test kits today

Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah holds his daily press conference on the Covid-19 outbreak

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PUTRAJAYA (May 5): The Ministry of Health (MoH) started training its respective healthcare workers today to utilise the antigen rapid test kits procured from South Korea.

MoH director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the respective teams had performed some initial tests with the new kits, the results of which will be reported within the next two days.

"The respective centres received the test kits today, and they are in the process of training [workers to use them]. We will get the results probably by tomorrow or the day after tomorrow," he said during his daily Covid-19 press briefing today. 

He added that another batch of 100,000 units of the test kit will arrive by the end of this week. 

Previously, Noor Hisham said the ministry had received the first batch of 50,000 test kits procured from South Korean firm SD Biosensor Inc. 

He said 10,000 units were distributed to Sabah, 10,000 to Sarawak, 15,000 to Johor for the Singapore-Malaysia border and another 15,000 to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and klia2. 

The test kits were obtained to complement Malaysia’s reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) screening in order to boost the maximum capacity of Covid-19 tests per day.

On April 16, Noor Hisham announced that the MoH had approved the use of antigen rapid test kits from South Korea to help Malaysia boost its Covid-19 testing capacity.

The test kits met the ministry’s accuracy requirement with a sensitivity rate of 84.4% and a specificity rate of 100%. 

Malaysia has so far been relying on RT-PCR tests to diagnose the presence of Covid-19, which take a relatively long time as the samples need to be sent to laboratories.

In comparison, Noor Hisham said previously, antigen rapid test kits would yield test results within 30 to 45 minutes and 15 tests can be done simultaneously. 

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