The Jakarta Post
A healthcare worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) takes a swab sample from an employee for a rapid antigen test inside a factory, amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Ahmedabad, India, on Sept. 11. (REUTERS/Amit Dave)
Healthcare platform Halodoc has teamed up with several healthcare facilities in Jakarta and Surabaya, East Java, to offer rapid antigen tests.
The antigen tests are one of the COVID-19 diagnosis methods recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The test uses nasal or throat swab samples to detect certain proteins on the surface of the coronavirus and is considered a way to get more affordable and faster results, as it does not require advanced lab equipment and comes in the form of paper strips resembling home pregnancy tests.
With regard to the drive-thru rapid antigen tests, Halodoc said in a statement that the service was currently available at three healthcare facilities in Jakarta, namely Cibis Park in Cilandak, South Jakarta; West One City in Cengkareng, West Jakarta; and the parking lot at Hall C JIExpo Kemayoran in Central Jakarta; as well as at two facilities in Surabaya, the Husada Utama Hospital’s parking space and medical laboratory Cahaya Diagnostic Centre.
Users can book an appointment for the service via the Halodoc application.
With a starting price of Rp 299,000 (US$21), the tests reportedly use Panbio, a product from American multinational medical devices and healthcare company Abbott, and customers can get the result within 60 minutes.
As for their accuracy, the tests are said to have a sensitivity rate of 91.4 percent and specificity of 99.8 percent.
Read also: Antigen tests: Blunt but fast COVID weapon
Following the Health Ministry’s recommendations, all staff members in the drive-thru facilities use complete protective gear (APD), including face masks, face shields, hazmat suits and plastic gloves.
Halodoc chief business officer and cofounder Doddy Lukito said the service aimed to provide public with access to accurate and affordable tests, as it was among the strategies to accelerate COVID-19 management in Indonesia.
In September, the national COVID-19 task force spokesperson Wiku Adisasmito said the government was searching for better and more accurate alternatives to its current screening method of rapid antibody tests, whose inaccuracy experts have highlighted, and that it was considering antigen tests.
Wiku said the government was aware of the WHO’s recommended list of rapid antigen test kits, which could provide results in less than 30 minutes.
Amid the benefits of using rapid antigen tests, Eijkman Institute deputy director for fundamental research Herawati Sudoyo said during an Instagram Live with The Jakarta Post, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test remained “the gold standard” for handling COVID-19, and the government should continue its efforts to make the test accessible for all.
She added that antigen tests might fill the gap, but only for emergency purposes in places where the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) labs did not exist. (jes)
Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.
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