Australians will be able to test themselves for Covid-19 at home within weeks following a tick of approval from the medicines regulator.
Australians will be able to test themselves for Covid-19 at home from next month following a green light from the medicines regulator.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved three self-administered rapid antigen test kits that will be supplied around the nation from November 1.
Two of the tests require spitting in a tube, and the third test is a nasal swab.
More home testing kits are expected to become available pending TGA approval.
The kits are expected to be sold in pharmacies and online and complement the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing done at public clinics.
PCR testing is considered the “gold standard” as it provides more accurate results, but it takes longer as the tests need to be assessed in a laboratory.
Self-administered rapid tests, which can result within 20 minutes, are already used widely in Europe and the US.
Rapid antigen tests are already used in various workplaces in Australia, such as some healthcare settings, aged care, and television production.
In September, TGA boss John Skerritt said the tests designed for professional settings would need to be transformed to make them suitable for home use.
“When a lot of these home tests were developed for Europe, the US, and North America, we didn’t have much Delta (variant) around, so it is absolutely critical to check that they perform well with Delta,” he told a Senate Covid committee.
He said vaccination levels by the end of October, or early November would mean fewer implications of a false positive or false negative result from a rapid test.
Professor Skerritt said it would be up to state and territory governments to decide whether to implement public health orders to mandate reporting of any positive results.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said at the time that home tests were crucial additional protection for Australians.
Originally published as Green light for first rapid antigen Covid-19 tests that Australians can use at home.