KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 22 — The COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Kit (RTK-Ag) should be conducted by a trained operator, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said.

He said the RTK-Ag should also be performed within the first five to seven days following the onset of symptoms for best results.

“More specific for a new cluster with a high positivity rate and when concordance study shows positive predictive value, high specificity.

“RTK-Ag testing confirmatory is recommended when the health system is overburdened. Test kits sensitivity (for RTK-Ag) must be more than 80 per cent and specificity more than 97 per cent,” he said in his Twitter posting today, listing five general recommendations for RTK-Ag testing for COVID-19 confirmatory. 

Dr Noor Hisham said the RTK-Ag is used when the turnaround time for the Real-Time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT PCR) technique is more than 48 to 72 hours or if the RT PCR test is not available.

Recently, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was reported as saying that Malaysia was one of the first few countries in the world to use RTK-Ag as COVID-19 screening test and the Health Ministry had been using it since June last year.

The kit was evaluated by the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL) and the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) to ensure compliance with the standards required and later approved by the Medical Device Authority (MDA) for wider use in the community.

Muhyiddin said, RTK-Ag test was used as a confirmatory test in Sabah since Oct 5 last year and until Jan 14, a total of 365,740 RTK-Ag tests had been conducted with a positivity rate of 3.75 per cent which facilitated the Health Ministry in managing the outbreak in the state.

Mass testing using the RTK-Ag test was also used to manage the COVID-19 outbreak among foreign workers in the country, he quipped.


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