Malaysia's Covid-19 testing capacity boosted by RTK Antigen method


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 28 May 2020

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia's testing capacity for Covid-19 by using the Reverse Transcription Polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method is now further boosted by the use of the Rapid Test Kit Antigen (RTK Antigen) method, says Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

The Health director-general said the RT-PCR testing at the very beginning was only 7,000 to 8,000 a day but was now almost 30,000.

He added that the RTK Antigen method would be used when a fast turnaround time was needed.

"We have a choice now. We can use RT-PCR or RTK Antigen.

"But if there is a need to use the RTK Antigen it is because we need to have a fast turnaround time of just 45 minutes to an hour, where we would be able to obtain the results," he said during his daily press briefing on Thursday (May 28).

According to Dr Noor Hisham, the country on May 27 had a maximum testing capacity of 29,789 tests for RT-PCR with 26,005 tests being done on that day.

For the RTK Antigen method, 3,708 tests were done as of May 27, with 50 samples being tested positive for the virus, said Dr Noor Hisham.

He added that the RTK Antigen method was good to be used at places such as the country's interiors, or even those who are transiting in KLIA as only a biosafety equipment was needed to run those tests.

"If there is no need for a fast turnaround time, then we can use the RT PCR," he said

He noted that 20,000 of the RTK Antigen test kits had been distributed to Sabah, Sarawak, as well as to clinics.

"Perhaps we can increase the usage of the RTK Antigen in clinics, the immigration detention centre depots and others," he said.

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