GEORGE TOWN, March 12 — The Rapid Test Kit-Antigen (RTK-Antigen) COVID-19 for self-testing can act as a good surveillance tool for fast detection and isolation as the country move towards transitioning into the endemic phase, says Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He said the Health Ministry would continue to use the RTK-Antigen to complement the use of RT-PCR tests in detecting infection and managing the COVID-19 pandemic, and he encouraged the public to continue using the RTK-Antigen test kits on alternate days when they were exposed to the public.
“If the virus load is low, the RTK-Antigen will not be too sensitive to it like the RT-PCR. However, a low virus load also means that infectivity is low.
“Most of the RTK-Antigen we approve are of 95 per cent sensitivity. It is a good surveillance tool. The RT-PCR is a confirmation tool when we want to know the genomics and biomolecular of the virus.”
He said this to reporters, here, today after delivering a public lecture on ‘Steeling up against the omicron storm: Is Malaysia prepared?’ at the 64th Dr Wu Lien-Teh Public Lecture, organised by Penang Institute and The Dr Wu Lien-Teh Society.
Earlier, in his lecture, Dr Noor Hisham said the current Omicron wave in Malaysia is expected to see a downward trend by the end of March, supported by the high vaccination rate and declining Rt value.
He said the vaccination rate for adults in Malaysia was 97.6 per cent and adolescents aged 12 to 17 years at 90.1 per cent, while the Rt value was at 1.03 as of yesterday compared with 1.04 recorded on March 10.
At the event today, The Dr Wu Lien-Teh Society president, Datuk Dr Anwar Fazal and Penang Institute executive director, Datuk Dr Ooi Kee Beng also awarded Noor Hisham with the Dr Wu Lien-Teh Award for Leadership in Public Health for his outstanding achievement in leading the public health sector through the COVID-19 pandemic.