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Jakarta Post

​​​​​​​COVID-19: Indonesia expects WHO to assist in procuring rapid antigen test kits

  • Alya Nurbaiti

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, October 2, 2020   /   06:53 am
​​​​​​​COVID-19: Indonesia expects WHO to assist in procuring rapid antigen test kits To the nose it goes: A medical worker takes a sample from a man’s nose during a COVID-19 swab test in Jakarta recently. Indonesia has a limited capacity for conducting swab tests due to a lack of labs, equipment and trained personnel. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

Indonesia is expecting the World Health Organization (WHO) to include the Southeast Asian country among the recipients of the rapid antigen test kits so as to speed up coronavirus detection in the archipelago.

Earlier on Monday, the WHO announced that some 120 million antigen test kits would be available at a cost of US$5 each for low- and middle-income countries. It said the $600 million scheme would serve to expand testing in poorer nations where lab facilities or trained health workers to carry out swab tests were lacking.

"We have communicated with the WHO's representative in Indonesia and we asked [for Indonesia] to be considered to receive the test kits from the WHO," national COVID-19 task force spokesperson Wiku Adisasmito said on Thursday.

Read also: Use antigen tests for screening but with caution: Experts

Wiku said Indonesia would immediately use the rapid antigen tests to expedite coronavirus screening and detection in the country.

“Will lndonesia use rapid antigen tests? The answer is yes. We have received good quality antigen tests recommended by the WHO. We are currently reviewing and considering to use them,” said Wiku.

He went on to say that the rapid antigen tests were more accurate than the rapid antibody tests. However, they may require further confirmation with a PCR test, especially if a person tests negative but appears to have COVID-19 symptoms.

The antigen tests offer the chance of a faster result, even within minutes, without sophisticated lab equipment. It only uses a paper strip containing coronavirus antibodies that react when touching the virus’ spike protein. (aly)