Home antigen test kits must not be used for work clearance, asymptomatic persons: expert

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 25 2022 05:45 PM

 People fall in line for free antigen testing service from the Office of the Vice President’s Swab Cab initiative stationed at Tandang Sora on January 5, 2021. OVP handout/File
People fall in line for free antigen testing service from the Office of the Vice President’s Swab Cab initiative stationed at Tandang Sora on January 5, 2021. OVP handout/File

MANILA — The use of antigen test kits should be prioritized for individuals belonging to the vulnerable population and those exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, an infectious diseases expert reminded the public on Tuesday.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier approved the registration of at least two home antigen test kits amid the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines.

But Dr. Rontgene Solante said that antigen test kits should not be used to clear workers going back to work since they are for patients with symptoms.

He said patients with symptoms and individuals included in the vulnerable population should be prioritized in the usage of antigen test kits. 

Self-administered and home COVID-19 test kits get samples from the mouth or nose. 

“Bakit? Because these are the population na kailangang, kung mag-positive, mayroon tayong gamot na mga antivirals or monoclonal antibodies para hindi lalala ang mga infection nila to severe COVID at hindi sila ma-hospitalized," he explained in a public briefing.

Dr. Edsel Salvana of the Department of Health technical advisory group, earlier said that the advantage with home tests is "you don’t have to go out and potentially infect other people when you have symptoms."

He also noted that fully vaccinated individuals face a low risk of developing severe symptoms. He urged them to "stay put and not infect anybody else; home isolate."

Malacañang had denied a supposed lack of foresight over COVID-19 home test kits and vaccination of younger children, as the Philippines battled another spike in coronavirus infections. 

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