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Approved COVID-19 Tests and Self-Tests in Australia

The COVID-19 tests and self-tests are designed to detect the SARS-CoV-2 (the causative virus) or the immune system’s response to the said virus. These tests determine if a person is infected with the virus and needs isolation to prevent the spread of the virus.

Previously, only healthcare professionals were allowed to conduct COVID-19 tests. However, the use of self-tests was eventually allowed in Australia.

Australians now have more COVID-19 testing options to choose from, and we are among the few countries with an effective COVID-19 testing system. The available COVID-19 tests in Australia are categorised into three types.

Three Main Types of COVID-19 Tests

1. Nucleic Acid Test

The nucleic acid test is conducted to detect the viral RNA of the SARS-CoV-2. This type of test involves various methods, but the most popular ones are the Reverse Transcriptase (RT) Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and the Isothermal Amplification Tests.

The RT-PCR is done by collecting samples from the throat or nose of a person. The sample is then treated with various chemical solutions to remove the fats and proteins and extract RNA. The extracted RNA is processed, placed in an RT-PCR machine and subjected to further assessments to determine the presence of the virus in the body of the source.

2. Rapid Antigen Test

The COVID-19 rapid antigen tests are among the most commonly used COVID-19 tests worldwide. These are used at the point of care and designed to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2’s viral protein. 

Rapid antigen tests can diagnose symptomatic patients infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In these tests, health professionals use nasopharyngeal, nasal or throat swabs, and saliva.

For best results, it is strongly advised that the testing should be done according to the instructions from the product manufacturer.

Many Australians prefer using rapid antigen tests due to the quick results. In about 15 or 30 minutes, you will know whether you are COVID-19 positive. However, the RT-PCR test is still considered the gold standard in COVID-19 diagnosis compared with the less sophisticated rapid antigen tests.

According to health experts, rapid antigen tests work best when performed during the early stages of infection because this is the time when a patient’s viral load is high (typically 5–7 days from the onset of symptoms). Symptomatic patients with negative rapid antigen test results are strongly advised to undergo PCR tests.

Also, rapid antigen tests tend to provide less reliable results when screening asymptomatic persons. The tests usually generate false-positive or false-negative results.

3. Serology Tests

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved some of the laboratory-based serology immunoassay tests and the point-of-care serology tests that use the technology for lateral flow immunoassay.

The serology tests intended for point-of-care are designed to detect the IgM and/or IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 using finger prick or venous blood samples.

The test is accomplished by placing the blood sample on a test strip that looks like the common pregnancy test kits. Similar to rapid antigen tests, the good thing about serology tests is that results can come out within 15–30 minutes. 

The downside of serology tests is that they are also prone to providing false-positive results. Moreover, they may fail to detect COVID-19 when the test is performed during the acute phase of the infection or before the development of the detectable antibodies.

Many health experts agree that self-test results are not as accurate and reliable as those obtained by conducting RT PCR tests. Yet, self-tests are helpful when done during the disease and when the person tested has COVID-19 symptoms. To get the most reliable results, it is best to have an individual who underwent a self-test get tested via RT PCR.

The use of rapid antigen test products in Australia is strongly encouraged and has become a common practice these days. As such, the number of RATs sold all over the country has significantly increased, and this made buying the best kit difficult. 

To get the best out of your money, you should go for the top RAT products. Here are some of the best rapid antigen test kits that are approved by the TGA and distributed by Dexcon.

Realy Tech Antigen Rapid Test Kit is ARTG-listed. This RAT kit is intended for use in homes, offices and other non-laboratory environments. For best results, the test should be conducted within seven days from the outset of symptoms. 

This rapid antigen test kit is designed for self-use and is ideal for testing individuals with COVID-19 symptoms. It’s easy to use and available in single test packs, as well as in 5 and 25 test packs. The product uses human anterior nasal swab specimens and provides quick results.

Another ARTG-listed antigen rapid test device, InnoScreen COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Device (Self-Test) is allowed for non-prescription home use on individuals (aged 2 years or older) who are suspected to be infected with COVID-19. It uses highly sensitive monoclonal antibodies to detect SARS-CoV-2 viral nucleoprotein antigens in nasal swabs.

The Clungene COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test is a lateral flow immunoassay that’s designed for the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid antigens in nasal swabs from individuals who are suspected of being infected with COVID-19 within the first 7 days of symptom onset. It has very high sensitivity, and it can get results in 15–20 minutes.

This antigen rapid test, which is also ARTG-listed, can be for self-use of persons aged 15 years or above, as well as for an adult testing another person who is below 15 years of age. Those who are over 65 years of age should consider seeking help in doing the test.

ALL TEST COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Tests (Nasal and Oral) are also ARTG-listed. The oral test is a qualitative membrane-based immunoassay that can detect SARS-CoV-2 antigens in human oral fluid specimens, while the one that requires a nasal swab detects the antigens in human swab specimens. Both tests can be used by laypersons as a self-test for home and workplace.

The number of rapid antigen tests and other self-tests conducted to detect COVID-19 among Australians is expected to increase tremendously. This is because the TGA has approved the use of various self-test products and is now sold by reliable sellers. If you’re looking for one, be sure to get your supply only from trustworthy suppliers like Dexcon.

Dexcon | Leading Medical PPE Supplier in Australia

Dexcon specialises in supplying top-quality PPE and medical devices, including rapid antigen test kits. We have partnered with some of the most reliable manufacturers in the medical and safety industry in the world to provide our clients with their medical supply needs. We offer wholesale and bulk orders. 

At Dexcon, we have seamless end-to-end logistics handled by our specialist team. You can be assured that we will deliver quality products on time. We also offer competitive wholesale prices.

For more information on our approved self-test kits and other medical supplies, call us on 1300 847 000 today.