Abbott’s Covid-19 antigen self-use test will facilitate the process of return to work and school, say top executives with the American healthcare company.

The product has been rolled out across India’s retail chemist network, on the same day a similar move was initiated in Singapore. The diagnostics and pharma affiliates of Abbott have collaborated to get the product to about 5,000 chemists and five lakh pharmacies in India, across urban, semi-urban and rural areas, said Ambati Venu, Vice President, Pharmaceuticals, Abbott India.

The product is being imported from Korea, he said, adding that he did not see constraints on the supply side. Available in multiple packs of one, 10 and 20 tests, it is priced at ₹325 for a single pack.

It till be a game-changer, given an imminent third wave, he told BusinessLine , adding that it will be available in a tiered-model for home use, assisted testing at primary health centres, labs and clinics.

Self-test

The Panbio antigen self-test for detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in adults and children with or without symptoms involves using a nasal swab (not the deep nasopharyngeal swab) as indicated on the pack. The kit contains all the materials required, including nasal swabs, test devices and reagent ampules. No additional instrumentation is required to conduct the test, said the company.

With results in just 15 minutes, the test allows people who test positive to self-isolate and not infect others. It is used along with Abbott’s NAVICA mobile app that offers a self-registration and automatic reading of results and easy reporting as per ICMR guidelines, the company explained.

Sanjeev Johar, President (Asia-Pacific) with Abbott’s Rapid Diagnostics, said India was the second country in the region, after Singapore, to have the product. It was launched a month ago in Singapore, where supplies were more restricted and handled by the Health Ministry.

But from Monday, it will be in convenience stores and supermarkets, he said.

Addressing the issue of high false positives with antigen tests, he said the Panbio professional test demonstrated 95.7 per cent sensitivity and 97.6 per cent specificity when benchmarked against RT-PCR tests, indicating high reliability. It has a European regulatory CE mark for asymptomatic use and supervised nasal swab collection and was on the WHO Emergency Use Listing, said the company.

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